Townshend Landscape Architects: St Andrews, Bromley-by-Bow, is a 3 hectare high density residential led project developed on the site of a former hospital in East London. The scheme was a collaboration between Barratt Homes London, the London Development Agency and Circle Anglia Housing Association, providing 964 residential units, a healthcare centre and a community centre set within a network of communal and public open spaces. 50% of the residential units are affordable and 30% family housing. Townshend Landscape Architects worked with Allies and Morrison Architects on the masterplan and outline planning permission as well as on the detail design for Block A, D and E; with Maccreanor Lavington Architects for Block B and Glenn Howells Architects for Block C. A key aim of the landscape proposals was to create a green network of public and semi-private open spaces to help to break down the scale of the buildings within a high density environment. The intention was to create a neighbourhood feel around a series of green playable streets and communal courtyard spaces. The main public spaces are St Andrews Gardens to the West and Reeves Park in the northern part of the site.
St Andrews Gardens was designed to be the lively, active space in the scheme and to form a green gateway into the site from Bromley-by-Bow Station. This new route has opened up the site to surrounding neighbourhoods as well as providing views into the space, encouraging people to visit and pass through. The park includes a series of smaller useable spaces for active play as well as quieter areas for seating. In addition a hard paved area, adjacent to the community building allows overspill space for local events. The smaller spaces are located within a terrace of sculptural landforms to create a strong visual interest, while also helping to providing step free access across the 5.8m level change. Reeves Park by contrast is a linear green ‘pocket park’ that forms the northern boundary of the site, and is broken down into a series of sub-spaces accommodating a range of activities. This includes play facilities, seating and a community garden of raised beds made from the reclaimed bricks of the former hospital.
Within the lush internal courtyard gardens of Blocks A, B and C, the landscape responds to the architectural diversity by providing three distinct semi-private spaces for local residents. ‘Door step’ play is incorporated within the courtyards, integrating features made of natural materials such as boulders, stepping logs and seating all set amongst lawn and herbaceous planting.
Engagement with the community has formed a vital role to ensure the development partners were responding to the views of the local community. An Art Strategy was developed to provide a clear direction for the role of public art within St Andrews. In 2008, Townshends worked with the artist-in-residence Bobby Lloyd, who arranged a series of art workshops with children from the neighbouring school and whose artwork was exhibited on the hoarding around the site with the ideas being fed back into the landscape design. Interventions include ‘found objects’ that were collected as the hospital was being demolished, photographed and used to produce murals displayed in the main entrances to Block A, and resin casts which were embedded into the gabion walls within St Andrews Gardens. A community herb garden was proposed for the final phase which takes its form from the 1860’s ground plan of the former hospital and is constructed from the stock bricks recycled from the building. Portland stone reclaimed from the hospital has also been used to form an amphitheatre within St Andrews Garden which can be used as an informal gathering space for older children.
All phases of the masterplan are now complete with the last phase completed in 2015.
Project: St Andrews, Bromley-by-Bow
Master Plan: Allies and Morrison Architects
Architects: Allies and Morrison Architects, Maccreanor Lavington, Glenn Howells
Landscape Architect: Townshend Landscape Architects
Design Team Leader: Robert Townshend, Gary Alden
Location: Bromley-by-Bow, London, UK
Commissioned by: Barratt London
Area: 3 ha