Sunday, 18 April 2010

At Potters Fields

The area around London's City Hall now offers a selection of case studies in landscape design, from new public space at its best all the way to 'landscaping' applied as a failed attempt to recover a hopeless bit of urban design.

The new Potters Fields park opposite the Tower of London, designed by Gross Max, is a triumph - it is simple, elegant, and hugely popular. The device of raising the lawn relative to the river wall, giving a view of the water to those sitting on the grass, is very successful - easy when you know how.

Not far away is an example of the dark side of 'landscaping' - a term the landscape architect Tom Lonsdale once warned me to look out for as an indicator of the sort of stuff applied with a special felt tip to a 'landscaping layout' to fill the gaps between the buildings, which hadn't been considered by the architect (who was too busy working out the core layouts).

Here at the More London development, overlooking Potters Fields, there was a problem - a pointless gap between two buildings, blank ground floors either side. No problem - we'll fill it with some 'landscaping'. Bit of hard, bit of soft. Job done.

I'm not blaming the 'landscapers'.

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