22 Oct 2009

London Docklands

Docklands is the nickname for an area in East & South-east London, including the boroughs of Southwark, Tower Hamlet, Greenwich & Newham. The area used to be part of the Port of London, the largest port in the world at one point, now the area has been developed & is primarily used for commercial & residential use.
Lighting masts rising from the water near the Excel building

Rows of trees outside the Excel building
Creates an interesting effect, very simple, yet effective

Excel Footbridge

View west from the Excel footbridge, distant views of Canary Wharf

Contemporary children's playground in Wapping
I like the use of materials & colours, it is not a typical-looking kids play area, has a city vibe to it

St Katherine's Dock, near Tower Bridge
This is a really nice area, it is slightly secluded & gives you a sense of escape from the city.

20 Oct 2009

More London

More London is a development just to the south-west of Tower Bridge, designed by Foster+Partners & Townsend Landscape architects, it was completed in 2003. The area consists of office blocks, shops, restaurants, a sunken ampitheatre, a pedestrianised area with sculptures & water features, Tower Bridge Hilton Hotel & much more. Townsend LA were appointed to design the landscape with a brief to "create a place of individual character while retaining the flexibility to change as a part of an evolving city."(townsendla.com)

Water channel cut into the pedestrian district, dividing business & pleasure with office buildings to the left & trees to the right

Southern exit onto Tooley Street

Very contemporary use of building facade materials, varying widely across the 13acre site

Brilliant views across the river & to Tower Bridge. Townsend used a lot of granite in their landscape, creating open paved spaces with minimalist seating

The area has many water features, here showing jets of water that erupt from the granite paving. Townsend have incorporated the surroundings into their design, using a lot of water, which reflects the nearby Rover Thames.

I enjoyed visiting the area, I am a fan of the contemporary look & use of materials, particularly granite, however I felt the open space was a bit too open. There seemed to be too much space, it would be a difficult place to fill with people (althoug I visited on a very grey day), & I felt a little over-exposed when sitting on one of the granite benches. Saying that it is a perfect place for a public space, perhaps it just needs a bit of sun & some more people.

17 Oct 2009

Thames Barrier Park

Alain Provost of Groupe Signes won the 1995 competition to design the Thames Barrier Park. The rectangular park is split up by dominating diagonal lines slicing through it. Alain Provost is known for his use of geometric shapes, & the Thames Barrier Park has been likened to another of his projects; Parc Citroen, in Paris.

There are strong steel bridges running across the lowered central garden, these are unattractive & really not in fitting with the other aspects of the site, in colour or in material. I cannot understand why such an unsightly material would have been used, why not wood or brushed steel..??

Wildflower area with silver birches

The small cafe is set back in a large lawn area, bordered by pines & silver birch trees.

In the spring & summer the lowered garden is beautiful, with a great variety of plants & flowers. However, it is not particularly to my taste, especially with the heavy hedging lining the garden.

A series of residental apartment blocks over look the park.

By the river's edge is a large decked area with bespoke wave benches, & a large steel canopy. From here you can see very close up to the barriers themselves that gave this site its name.

Grassed sloped leading onto decking with canopy, & the Thames Barriers in the background

There is a varied use of materials, however the design has been clever to allow them to easily & fluidly run into one another, without any obvious clashes

Steel pillars hold up the canopy

The Thames Barriers at a low tide

I have been to Thames Barrier Park several times now, & each time I want to enjoy it more, but I never seem to be able to. As I said, I am not a fan of the lowered garden, but purely for the plants used, however, the remainder of the park is great. I love the use of decking & grass slopes, the large lawned areas edged with rows of trees, & I especially like the wildflower areas that are dotted around the site. Perhaps it is the lack of people in the park, due to its 'out-of-town' location, there are never many visitors at any one time, it has diminished the usage of the park. I think it deserves more visitors definately, but to attact them to the area it may take more than a small, albeit very nice, cafe, especially after such a long journey on the DLR.

16 Oct 2009

Canary Wharf

Jubilee Park is a green public space in the centre of Canary Wharf, built above an underground railway station, effectively making it a roof garden. The focus of the park is the serpentine water channel which runs through a rough stone wall. Surrounding this is grassed slopes, benches, sculptures & a multitude of trees. The area is always in use, I think the location is perfect for office workers who want to have a relaxing lunch break. The trees make a canopy-like covering over the park, which blocks out a large proportion of the overbearing, surrounding buildings.