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Architect: Munkenbeck + Marshall Landscape architect: Gillespies Client: Chelsfield Forming part of the massive redevelopment of Paddington Basin, Paddington Walk is a residential scheme which uses fifth-floor roof gardens as one of its key selling points. The three gardens are places for relaxation and social gatherings, and each has a different geographic theme: Japanese, Indonesian and Moroccan.

Designed by landscape architect Gillespies, they offer a mixture of hard surfaces and planting.

Intended to offer a sense of exoticism, the gardens also satisfy some demanding constraints. Loadings are kept to a minimum by careful control of water and some visual tricks. Some relatively large trees have been used - for instance a rhus at the centre of the Indonesian garden and an olive in the Moroccan garden. These are in large planters fi lled two-thirds with foam and one-third with soil, minimising the weight.

Having accessible gardens in the air also introduces Health and Safety issues. The 1.1m-high surrounding walls satisfy Building Regulations and the furniture is fixed so it cannot be lifted and thrown by people or freak winds. The designer and the developer, Chelsfield, have worked on an assumption of reasonable behaviour by residents.

It was decided not to fix the pebbles using resin binding because this would have been visually unattractive. There is a fixed irrigation system that can be turned on or off manually. A filtration layer and container beneath the planting bed harvest rainwater, which is later used for irrigation.

With intense development in the surrounding area, these gardens, while chiefly intended as an amenity for residents, should also give visual pleasure to users of nearby buildings.

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