As you exit Canary Wharf tube station straight away you are hit with the beautiful lush green of new spring growth from the surrounding beech hedges. Leaves blowing softly in the breeze. Above the Redwoods rise into the sky followed by rolling, wavy natural stone walls flowing into a green oasis. The next thing you start to look up and see the high rise buildings. The contrast of hard lined structures and hedges that have been left slightly unmaintained just enough to blow in the wind is delightful. The architecture is over poweringly exciting and the green blowing leaves soften the overall experience.
Going through the park the colours are kept at a minimum (grey and green) which allows the eye to flow and follow the waves in the wall structure and detail. Stones are layered to create the waviness. The simplicity of the planting (grasses on the wall tops) and beech hedges reflect the simplicity of the architecture, both marry and don’t collide. The entrance to the shopping mall is low and small. It is not very grand and seems to peep out at you as you walk through the wavy, winding path to the park.
The high trees block alot of views of these buildings and almost reveal the buildings as a feature on the landscape rather than the buildings dominating the space. The building could be seen as secondary importance to the park. This place screams out National Parks in America to me. I am waiting for Yogi Bear to appear.
Also note the simplicity of line in the way the beech hedges line up with the architectural feature and bicycle stands.
There are simple lines in the hedges and the bicycle stands create rhythm and repetition. You you stay here for along time and still come back for more.
- Unity of detail can be seen in the use of materials. The stone walls are made up of the same stone as the steps throughout.
- Moving water drowns out the sound of the traffic etc. to reasonable effect.
- The tarmac paths could have been thought through a bit better. In someways I feel that contrasting colours might enhance this space.
- The informal flowing curves contrast well with the building.
The train station entrances are all glass so when you exit you can see the greenery straight away. The curved insect like shapes of the station entrances feel organic and low soft lines work well with the surrounding soft landscaping (low impact).
The soft landscape blocks ugly views of the train line but also the trees soften the hard landscaping and concrete structures. The beech hedges mimic the forms of the concrete under ground entrances. These beech hedges slow new spring growth that rustles in the wind creating movement and life. They add texture to the environment.
Water flowing right through this space really adds a major aspect to the genius loci. It changes the atmosphere and adds sounds of nature to an otherwise urban space. It is nice how it is giving us a feeling of nature but is not trying to be an exact river from nature. The design still is very architectural to balance with the reality of it’s setting.
Unity of detail: The colour is the same in the steps, walls and paving. Materials match in the steps, walls and paved paths. The soft landscaping softens the architecture but also shows how the building peeps out as a surprise and it almost looks like they were designed at the same time. The colours of the stone and the facade of the wall are are very similar aswell.
With regard to the design for The Old Guinness Brewery and Twyford Abbey it is interesting to see how the contrast of strong architectural form (formality) marries beautifully with the soft landscaping (informal). The contrast in both park designs brings both drama and serenity to the space with a sense of unity.