Location: Canary Wharf, London
The award-winning Canary Wharf district has been under construction for 28 years. London’s centre of gravity will be given a further substantial yank eastward when Crossrail, the fast east /west rail link opens in 2018.
Canary Wharf Crossrail station will be the largest, and probably the busiest intersection point on the line. Over 100,000 already work in the estate with many more to follow. The Wood Wharf residential project will add 3,200 new homes by 2019.
Foster and Partners have masterminded this £500m flagship station project. ‘Crossrail Place’ draws together the historical maritime, commercial and botanical dockland background. On eight floors (four of them below water level), it embraces transport, retail, leisure and a public, 5,300 square metre semi-tropical roof garden. Its position near the Greenwich Meridian is reflected in beds divided between Eastern and Western flora.
On the opening of the striking, semi-open roof structure containing leisure facilities and garden, Lord Foster said: “Crossrail is an important investment in infrastructure that will have benefits not only in the short term, but also for future generations. The social magnets of shopping, bars,restaurant and a public garden are also part of an enlightened partnership between the public and private domains. The building is conceived to mediate between the adjoining worlds of Canary Wharf and the local community – with its different materials and the emphasis on a softer expression and warmer materials.” Crossrail, he added, “is an investment for future generations on a par with Joseph Bazalgette’s 19th-century Victoria Embankment, (across the river from his Battersea office), which elegantly solved the problems of sewage, while providing a great public space with public transport underneath — a really holistic design and a great civic statement. We are not as good at big thinking and infrastructure as our Asian counterparts now. Crossrail is one of those magnificent exceptions.”
Gillespies, with Standerwick Landscape Design, were entrusted with the garden design. Growth Industry Ltd of Hawkhurst, Kent provided specialist consultancy advice on species selection and measures to ensure that the physical restraints, including shallow substrate and overhead structures, were suitably cared for. Blakedown Landscapes were the masterminds in installation, a no easy task with extensive specialist planting, bespoke irrigation, feature walls, a specially constructed concrete walkway, paving and seating.
GreenBlue Urban were delighted that their products, including the modular structural StrataCells affording optimum load bearing and root welfare environments, were integrated into the scheme. Along with their ribbed ReRoot root training systems these products will provide the needed soil volumes and controls for many years of potential growth and environmental benefit and deliver low maintenance requirements.