Located at the gateway to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, International Quarter London is one of London’s largest new mixed-use developments. Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s landscape design covers the entire development and is comprised of a sequence of public realm spaces and plazas. From small and intimate gardens to large events areas, it is this flexibility that makes IQL both a desirable area to visit whilst providing a sense of place to those that live and work there.
Endeavour Square is the central civic space for the first phase of the development and will be the focus for visitors arriving from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford City and the new Culture and Education District. Inspired by the railway lines seen in historical maps of the area, it is approached from Westfield Avenue through an alley of Oak trees. Raised planters and benches are placed between these lines to create areas to pause in and three diamond-shaped water features, reflecting the surrounding buildings, sky and planting, have been designed to engage visitors. A spectacular, International Pavilion designed by Acme, sits at the heart of the Square, providing both a meeting place and social destination with a visitor centre, café and two new restaurants. We have designed the green roof which features two main planters containing a selection of perennials, grasses and shrubs that have been carefully chosen from the RHS pollinators list to promote biodiversity. Tall grasses also help animate the terrace generating sound and movement in the wind and twining plants climb up the walls providing a colourful backdrop for the terrace bar. Our plant selection for this space is designed to be a sensory experience. Flowering plants provide colourful, seasonal interest, while herbaceous plants such as Salvia, stimulate the sense of smell.
Part of the Masterplan’s artistic strategy includes ‘Labyrinth of a Straight Line’ which is artwork by the artist Troika. Consisting of a labyrinthine formation that twists, turns and meanders, it is essentially a path of tessellated natural stone. When seen from different viewpoints, it creates an optical illusion of a three-dimensional architectural structure that seemingly protrudes from the ground. Passers-by can follow the path from start to finish, ending up in front of the Pavilion. Additionally, the Square also plays host to a variety of temporary events and pop-ups including the Hothouse by Studio Weave and the Mobile Forest by Tom Massey Studio.
Next is the richly planted landscape of Redman Place which we have created as a place to pause, rest and gather. Featuring a series of outdoor ‘garden rooms’, the area offers solace from the wider development and a ‘front door’ to the office buildings and retail spaces.
Finally, running alongside the Woolwich railway line, is a 300m-long concrete, green wall which defines the Southwestern edge of the site. One of the largest green walls in the UK, its textured surface allows for self-clinging plants to colonise and encourage biodiversity. These native plants will attract birds, pollinators and insects and are supplemented by more than 50 bird and bat boxes. Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) are an important consideration in the planning process and our design evidently demonstrates a strong commitment to this.
Landscape Architecture: Gustafson Porter + Bowman
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: RSHP (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners), AFK (Arney Fender Katsalidis), ACME, Makower Architects
Design year: 2015
Year Built: present
Photographer: Richard Bloom