The Landscape Guide

Marquess Estate - landscape architecture

The following text, by Simon Rendell, was published in the 1984 London Landscape Guide: "Marquess Road estate is high density housing in medium-rise form. Detailing and spacial composition are well handled though complex. Cul-de-sacs, basement garaging and mature trees are somehow woven into the tight spaces. Nearby on the opposite side of St. Paul's Road is St. Paul's Shrubbery: a superbly articulated space with graceful mounding set off by the backs of Georgian terraces. Children's play areas at either end form an integral part of the composition. Architects and Landscape Architects for all three schemes were Darbourne and Darke." In 2006 there was a proposal to rebrand the area as New River Green. This would include the adjoining Channel Islands Estate which is a fearful example of Corbusian landscape planning - a fine example of the type of landscape design which Darbourne and Darke broke away from with the Marquess Road Estate.

In 2006 the original Darbourne and Darke landscape was still recognizable, but only just. The articulation of the urban landscape has severely diminished by security fencing and safety barriers. It would probably have been better to make the estate into a gated community of the type which is now flourishing in London Docklands and elsewhere. The Marquess children's play areas have been vandalised (aesthetically) by the housing management department.

See also New River Walk

HOMEPAGE - Landscape Architecture London List

The Marquess Estate was a pioneering example of a low-rise high-density urban landcape, designed as an alternative to the adjoining high-rise Channel Islands Estate (below)

Le Corbusier's idea (from the Plan Voisin) was that appartments in high-rise blocks would free the land at ground level for gardens. The result (above) was blank wastelands of mown grass.

The ugly Marquess Estate children's playground