Editor's Choice

The Park Within Elephant Park

designed by /

Location: London / UK / Type: Parks / Playgrounds / Water features / Built: 2021 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on May 4, 2023

The Park is the spectacular centrepiece of Elephant Park, the £2.5bn revitalisation of Elephant & Castle by Lendlease and Southwark Council, which is setting the benchmark in city living. A two-acre inclusive and sustainable community space at the heart of this landmark regeneration project, it features expansive lawns, colourful rain gardens, walkways nestled within naturalistic planting, and the landmark water playscape, Elephant Springs.

The Park is a celebration of nature and a tribute to Elephant and Castle’s diverse population and existing ecology, helping to mitigate climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve people’s quality of life. The design was community-driven, shaped through extensive consultation, including the formation of a Park Advisory Group made up of representatives from the client, local authority, and designated members of the community, to ensure the park fully met the diverse needs of local people and instilled a sense of ownership and pride. The primary feedback was the desire to retain the existing mature trees and create a series of passive and active spaces where all members of the community could safely and congenially come together.

The design and programming of the park has been shaped around the retention of 27 existing mature trees, with 19 newly planted trees giving an increase in canopy coverage. Local biodiversity is boosted through new habitats and enhanced by a wider planting strategy, comprising a mix of native and non-native species, to maximise diversity and deliver ecological value.

The Park has been designed to deliver a year-round, multi-sensory experience. A network of accessible paths winds through lawn space, trees, areas of open seating and natural play areas. Rain gardens along the perimeter provide pockets of ever-changing colour, height and texture, and help to manage rainfall and limit urban flooding, infiltrating surface water runoff from hard paved areas into the underground aquifer rather than overburdening London’s combined sewer system. The rain gardens are designed to consider future extreme climate change-affected rainfall intensities and the 100-year storm period, making the design robust for future generations.

At the heart of the Park sits a unique water playscape, Elephant Springs; a rocky water world of fountains, waterfalls and sandy beaches. Created from 300 tons of Italian porphyry stone, chosen for its hard wearing and slip-resistant properties when wet, Elephant Springs is a fully accessible and tactile space designed to delight, challenge and excite children and adults alike. Vintage water pumps, cascading water channels and motion-activated water jets, plus slides and sandy bays, provide active fun and educational experiences for all ages. The playscape has been designed to encourage safe but adventurous play, with dappled light projections transforming the space from day to night.

The creation of the park has brought a green, open environment to the area for people to use and enjoy. It offers residents and visitors unforgettable social and recreational experiences, as well as an opportunity to slow down and connect with nature.


Project Data

Landscape Architecture: Gillespies Landscape Architects

Project Website: Elephant Park
Other designers involved in the design of the landscape: Mel Chantrey of Fountain Workshop, Buro Happold, Speirs + Major, Treeworks Environmental Practice
Project location: Elephant and Castle, London, UK
Design year: Park Phase One Sept 2014 to Dec 2016, Park Phase Two: August 2018 to April 2021
Year Built: Park Phase One: January 2017 to July 2017, Park Phase Two: April 2021 to June 2021
Photography: Aurelien Langlais, John Sturrock, Gillespies
Manufacturer of urban equipment: Hardscape

Streetview may show location before intervention

One thought on "The Park Within Elephant Park by Gillespies"

  1. A really great children’s playground, I believe that children will enjoy it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Products by Maglin