22 September 2020
Transformative designs for Grosvenor Square create a global blueprint for shared urban spaces
Initial design proposals for Grosvenor Square, the second largest garden square in London, have been revealed today with a call for public participation to help transform the space for people and nature.
- Four interlocking gardens based on the original oval shape offer a new sensory experience and increase green space in central London
- Proposed planting scheme will increase biodiversity and double the number of trees
- Extensive public consultation identified five key criteria for modern urban spaces
The ambitious programme to develop a global blueprint for urban green spaces was launched by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland in 2017, with the new designs created by London architecture practice Tonkin Liu.
Over 4,000 pieces of feedback from local residents and Londoners, along with input from experts including Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, LSE Cities and the Green Infrastructure Consultancy, have informed the proposals. Five themes were identified as core to thriving urban life, which also provide a blueprint for other spaces across the world: green in our cities; accessing the outdoors; spectacular horticulture and biodiversity; healthy places; and urban ecology.
The feedback has shown that people want Grosvenor Square to be a green oasis at the heart of Mayfair, encouraging nature and protecting the environment while also celebrating its heritage. The proposed designs take inspiration from the original 1720s layout – when Grosvenor Square was created – and update it to future proof the square and help do its part in tackling climate change.
The initial proposals enlarge the garden by 3,000 square metres and reintroduce the oval shape from the original design first laid out nearly 300 years ago. A new sensory experience would be created by four interlocking gardens:
- Corner gardens – extending the garden with green gateways to the square with options for small dynamic structures welcoming visitors.
- Shaded gardens – a new zone around the edge of the square, will almost double the number of existing trees. Framed by new planting these will allow people to immerse themselves in nature and improve air quality for those living and working in the area.
- Open garden – a large Georgian-inspired oval of flexible open space free from planting that allows for people to experience a sense of openness in the square.
- Hidden water garden – sited underneath a rising mound in the open garden, celebrating the experience of water and allowing for rainwater capture.
All Londoners are being encouraged to give their feedback on the proposals, through an engagement programme designed by architecture & design studio make:good. An open exhibition in the square is running alongside a series of online events over the next few weeks. An audio tour of the exhibition is also available at www.grosvenorsquare.org.
Ed Green, Senior Development Manager, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland said: “The proposals deliver what people have told us they want through the engagement process. They offer a balance of different areas for nature and people without over-crowding the space.
“They show how garden squares can play their part in tackling the climate emergency, by bringing as much nature and biodiversity to the site as physically possible while addressing the issues that are important for multiple generations of visitors.”
Anna Liu, Director, Tonkin Liu, commented: This is an exciting opportunity to create an active, living landscape, a landscape that demonstrates the working wonders of nature as well as its beauty.
“In the communities’ growing desire to be outdoors across all seasons, local green spaces have become essential. The four gardens proposal will extend the open space that is currently much valued, as well as create new spaces where both people and nature flourish.”
Follow the project on Twitter and Instagram.
View the consultation boards and take an audio tour of the exhibition at https://grosvenorsquare.org/
About Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland creates great places where communities, business and nature thrive.
In London’s West End, we support 9,000 residents, c1,000 businesses and 50,000 workers every day. We also create and manage sustainable neighbourhoods in London, Liverpool and across the South East of England.
We are one part of a global, family owned business that has been developing and managing land and property for over 340 years. Thinking long term allows us to give equal weight to the environmental, social and commercial impact of everything that we do.