Landezine
International
Landscape
Award
Churchman Thornhill Finch

Our philosophy combines an intuitive environmental responsibility with a strong desire to realise designs that achieve a unique response to site and brief. Our strategy is applied in a coherent manner from a strong conceptual basis through to final detail.

We focus much of our effort in areas subject to diverse public interaction and have built a reputation for considered and appropriate responses to a range of sensitive urban and rural environments. We have established an understanding of the changing dynamic of modern life, delivering enhancements in the urban fabric and our natural environment. By understanding the relationships between spaces and users, we can create landscapes that both inform and inspire, creating opportunities for enjoyment and interaction as incidental and established experiences.

Investigation of the wider influences of a project underpins much of our work; we seek to collaborate with other professionals, artists and the community to explore the physical, cultural and emotional relationships of place. This is done through the context of historic influence and contemporary needs. We seek to understand the political landscape and user ambition to evolve a response that can be both delivered and celebrated.

Our design work is supported by a strong research ethos and an office ethos based around enquiry and experimentation with a particular emphasis on biodiversity and sustainable technologies. We adopt a “hands on” approach to the evaluation of new ideas including our own testing and trials of new green solutions.

 

National Maritime Museum

The Greenwich World Heritage Site provides the context for a new entrance pavilion for the National Maritime Museum. This is a landscape steeped in history, having been created over nearly 400 years. Whilst it is now read as a grand plan it is in fact a composite structure that revealed itself over 250 years. The Queen’s House provides the point of reference for the formal composition; the Naval College, the baroque landscape, the Royal Observatory and the extensions to the National Maritime Museum all being added around this iconic structure.

Our initial assessment identified that circulation around the World Heritage site and specifically into the Museum was flawed. While the focus has been on the grand north – south axis running through the Queens House, there is an equally significant east – west axis running across the boundary between the Royal Park and the Museum. Historically the connectivity between the two sites has been minimized, however, the new museum entrance provided the opportunity to unlock this frontage and to integrate a new circulation route into the Greenwich complex. Water features evoke the essence of the sea through sound and movement, a raised rill drawing visitors in from the boundary with children racing pooh sticks. A gently inclined series of flooded steps give the sense of waters lapping onto the sea shore. Planting is similarly representative of the maritime influences with roof top plantings being based around cliff top species.

 

Rathbone Market Canning Town

This project was master planned in 2008 and delivered in three phases to establish a new sustainable and mixed-use community at Rathbone Market as part of the Canning Town & Custom House Regeneration Area programme. The development provides two public squares, purpose-built facilities for market traders and a new public library and community centre.

The landscape concept was instrumental in establishing a masterplan and technical innovations to enable a series of residential gardens and courtyards to be established alongside the busy A13, utilising lower and mid-level roofs for passive recreational use and younger children’s play with higher level roofs dedicated to productive gardens and biodiversity. These techniques included the provision of a double-sided Green Wall Acoustic Barrier and extensive reworking of existing infrastructure serving an underpass below the road.

Water sensitive urban design principles were embedded in the landscape design from the outset to reduce the requirement for below ground storm water attenuation and use the water shed to create a series of dynamic features. A podium level pond harvests rain water from the surrounding roofs and recirculates this to create a playful rill and naturally filter the water. The market square provides a flexible hard-wearing space. Planted with large Pin Oaks and embracing two significant existing London Planes the square establishes a new civic space for Canning Town.

 

South Gardens

South Gardens is the first phase of Lendlease’s Elephant Park masterplan for the regeneration of the 1960’s Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle. South Gardens consists of 350 units across three new city plots. Our design role included all the private and residential amenity areas including 3 courtyards, 2 communal roof gardens and 11 biodiverse green roofs.

Our brief was to deliver a liveable, engaging, playful and beautiful residential landscape with intrinsic ecological value. Our response was to embrace a robust planting design that prized native and wildlife friendly plant species and aimed to maximise biodiversity. Architecturally the scheme consists of conventional building typologies; 3-storey townhouses, 8-storey mansion blocks and a 16-storey tower. Our design provides a residential landscape that engages with the buildings at multiple levels – from ground up to tree canopies, in vertical surfaces as green walls and at roof level.

The courtyards imitate the complexity of a woodland edge with multiple layers of vegetation from the ground herb layers, shrubs and climbers and into the tree canopy with fruiting canopy, mid and upper canopy trees. This woodland concept extends to movement and permeability with a diversity of thoroughfares balancing a sense of liberty with gently curving paths, and planted glades that create a sense of depth and enclosure.

 

Green Heart University of Birmingham

Established around the historic axis of Joseph Chamberlain’s clock tower and Aston Webb’s range of academic buildings, Churchman’s vision for the Green Heart provides a new model for all higher education landscapes. The design promotes the positive use of external academic space; establishing the landscape as the talking point of campus, facilitating discourse, occupation and random encounter; providing a seedbed where students and academics trade ideas and inspiration. This is focused around fully inclusive movement and features a bridge, glass pavilions, a biologically filtered water feature and rain gardens.

Rather than repeating the original axial avenue established in 1928, we decided to adopt a single design gesture with a series of formally arranged squares along an axial route. The level changes were addressed by establishing a multi-level circulation strategy which included a bridge and extended earth mounds carrying ramps to provide a fully inclusive network of pathways. The large open space was activated by subdividing the area into several more modest sized external rooms which ensure that the landscape is more heavily occupied.

 

Thames Path Nine Elms

This project establishes a new public route and visitor destination running along the south bank of the Thames. It forms part of the emerging public realm associated with the regeneration of Nine Elms: a previously forgotten corner of south west London which is now becoming the home of 20,000 new residents and the location for the American Embassy. This is a fluid piece of cityscape that is in a state of almost daily change, as new residential accommodation replaces former commercial properties and light industry. Set against this transformational backdrop, the first green shoots of a new urban landscape are starting to emerge.

The aim of the project was not to deliver one project for one site or even a series of projects for a number of sites – but to initiate a programme of enhancements which can create an enhanced public realm; thus enriching the cultural offer, such that this section of the Thames Path develops its own identity and sense of self awareness.

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