Superbloom at The Tower of London

designed by /

Location: London / UK / Type: Installations / Built: 2022 /
Published on March 12, 2024

For those accustomed to the solemnity and stoic demeanor of the Tower of London, the Superbloom event that transformed the site from June to September 2022 was a delightful surprise.

Superbloom was a nature-focused attraction that celebrated the value and importance of nature to our collective wellbeing. It flooded the moat with a riot of colours, turning the historic space into a lively tapestry of spring and summer hues. Against the backdrop of ancient stone walls and turrets, visitors were greeted with a spectacle of vivid reds, pinks, blues, and purples.

Executing the Superbloom project posed a myriad of challenges, given the site’s historical importance and environmental constraints. The goal was to create a stunning display of annual flowers to coincide with the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, while also enhancing biodiversity and addressing climate considerations. Despite these hurdles, the project successfully attracted over 250,000 visitors and generated huge reach via media and social media channels.

Several technical challenges were tackled to realise the vision of Superbloom. The original moat soil was unsuitable, necessitating the importation of new soil profiles while adhering to strict archaeological guidelines. Microclimates across the moat required tailored design approaches to accommodate varying conditions, impacting seed germination and flowering duration.

Over 20 million seeds from diverse species were carefully distributed across the moat, aiming to create a dynamic, impressionist field of flowers. Ecological surveys highlighted the significant increase in biodiversity attributed to Superbloom, with a focus on enhancing habitat variety and supporting native species.

Infrastructure improvements included drainage enhancements and a new irrigation system to address waterlogging issues. Moody LED lighting, an evocative soundscape, and artistic installations of metal insects and woven willow added depth to the visitor experience, while materials were chosen for their aesthetic appeal and environmental sustainability. New paths, walkways and viewing points offered a fresh perspective on the Tower’s ancient walls, whilst a 17.5m four-lane slide provided a unique and playful way for people to enter the moat.

The project faced strict planning requirements, considering the Tower’s status as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and World Heritage Site. Detailed visitor management strategies were implemented to ensure safe and inclusive access for all.

Superbloom not only offered a unique visitor experience but also served as a catalyst for reimagining urban green spaces in response to climate change and biodiversity loss. Lessons learned from the project will inform future initiatives, emphasizing the importance of understanding microclimates, water management, and habitat optimization.

Superbloom exemplifies how ambitious projects can transform traditional landscapes into vibrant, resilient ecosystems that delight visitors while addressing pressing environmental concerns. It turned an historic green moat into an escape for the local community, a must-see visitor attraction and a haven for wildlife, especially pollinators and birdlife.

Project Data

Landscape Architecture: Grant Associates

Client: Historic Royal Palaces
Company Role on Project: Lead consultant, landscape architecture

Collaborators/Other Consultants:

Nipek, Lighting design
Max Jacquard and Dawn Bendick, Glass Artists
Spencer Jenkins, Willow Artist
Tim O’Hare, Soil Scientist
Erland Cooper, Musical Composer
Qoda, MEP
Tim O’Hare Associates, Soil Scientists
Nigel Dunnett, Horticultural design
Mason Navarro Pledge, Structural and Civil Engineering

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