Rotterdam’s West 8 revitalizes the once-neglected gardens on London’s Southbank.
Located between Festival Hall and County Hall on the bank of the Thames is a newly renovated park by Dutch urban design and landscape architecture firm West 8, the firm behind recent revitalizations of Miami Beach and Madrid’s riverbanks, as well as the ongoing revamp of Toronto’s Central Waterfront.
Completed in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June and the Summer Olympics, which kick off next week, this newly refreshed public space provides dramatic river views thanks to its slight elevation above street level. The original Jubilee Gardens was created in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee (before that, it housed temporary buildings, then a parking lot), but deteriorated during construction of Jubilee Line expansion.
The $8 million project combines undulating green surfaces and crisp white granite edges, providing much-needed wide walkways and bench-like seating for one of the city’s highest traffic areas. Linking to nearby Waterloo station, the curvy granite path also connects to the Hungerford Bridge across the Thames, as well as the Queens Walk along the river’s south side. The new grass turf, red flowerbeds, 69 trees and contemporary playground that adorn the green spaces were installed by Britain’s Frosts Landscape Construction, which also worked on the Olympic Park situated in London’s east end.