Taylor Wimpey East London is building 948 houses and apartments on the former site of the University of East London. All 13 apartment buildings will have a green roof and the public realm includes a number of innovative areas of public open space, including ’the spine’ landscape, which runs through the development. Liz Lake Associates was commissioned to prepare a detailed landscape design scheme for this spine area.
The so-called ‘spine’ on the site is a north-south aligned linear amenity space which provides a green link from Mayesbrook Park to the south, into the heart of the development. Drawing on its experience of landscape design in residential areas, Liz Lake Associates developed a scheme which has a harmonious fluid informality and can be seen as a piece of modern art when viewed from the upper floor balconies. The informality of the design contrasts with and complements the strong lines of the adjacent architecture. A serpentine path meanders along the central axis of the space. Open areas can be used for picnics and barbecues by residents, while sunken, more intimate spaces will provide communal meeting spaces suitable for quiet sitting on the low elliptical-shaped granite benches. Shallow grass mounding to the back of these meeting areas and elsewhere along the length of the spine will create raised lawns, thereby increasing opportunities for informal passive recreation and imaginative play. Swathes of wildflower grassland and indigenous species of trees and hedgerows will also help to promote biodiversity.
Construction of the apartments and landscape is well underway and the spine landscape should be completed by the end of 2015.