An architectural approach to landscape

The architecture of landscape, in Deptford Creek

The architecture of landscape, in Deptford Creek

It is a pleasure to find a really successful instance of an architectural approach to landscape design. The Laban Centre in Deptford, London, was designed by the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and won the Stirling Prize for Architecture in 2003. The sculptured landforms create a sense of place and work well with the mirror glass. Children love running amok on the grass.

The pity of the scheme is that it is not integrated with the intriguing landscape of Deptford Creek.  It lurks behind steel fencing, like a business park. So, reluctantly, I classify it as context-insensitive design – but the blame probably rests with the health and safety and security brigade.

7 thoughts on “An architectural approach to landscape

  1. Christine

    Yes. Interesting project…[]…shame about the loss of the solar energy screens and the green roof. Are you aware of who is responsible for the masterplanning of the revitalisation of Deptford? Was a landscape architect involved?

  2. Tom Turner Post author

    ‘Master Planning’ is too strong a word for town planning in the UK. Unless the land is in public ownership, it tends to be done by ‘planning briefs’ which indicate what sorts of development option would be likely to receive planning permission. Landscape architects are often involved in this procedure but they tend to over-ruled by town planners and architects with senior positions in the local authority hierarchy.
    BUT there IS a exemplary plan for the Black Redstarts in Deptford:

  3. Christine

    If the Black Redsstarts plan for Deptford is fully realised and its operation monitored by researchers it would seem that it will make a valuable contribution to understanding how green roofs may offer replacement habitats to vulnerable and threatened species. []

    Green roofs with this purpose are less gardens and more ecology. It raises the question about how, once they are created, how such habitats might be sustained. Under this typology the habitats would exist within the usual development cycle of buildings and sites. A green roof on a parliament building is more secure than a green roof on an otherwise nonedescript office building.

    Ironically, having a well-regarded [landscape]architect design the habitat would increase the expected lifecycle of the building.

    I imagine this is potentially a fertile area for both property and environmental law.

  4. Christine

    Thankyou! I was unaware of the existence and use of habitat plans. There is considerable semi-urban vulnerable koala habitat in Australia which would benefit from their adoption in an integrated approach to residential subdivision design and development. []


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