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West 8’s ‘pollinator garden’ design wins London riverside park competition

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Landscape architect West 8 has won a competition to transform part of the Bernie Spain Gardens on London’s South Bank

The Dutch practice impressed judges with designs for two ‘pollinator gardens’ filled with colourful flowers and a new gardener’s pavilion on the park, located between the River Thames and Stamford Street.

The competition, launched at the end of 2017, was run by Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) and is the first major upgrade of its gardens since they were created in 1988.

West 8 was selected ahead of competition from shortlisted firms including Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape and J&L Gibbons, who worked with London-based architects Feilden and Fowles.

Other shortlisted entries came from Kinnear Landscape Architects who teamed up with Lisa Shell Architects and Reynolds Design who collaborated with Exterior Architecture, Civic Engineers and dRMM architects.

The upgrade aims to transform the garden, named after local health and housing campaigner Bernadette Spain, from a pedestrian thoroughfare into an ‘idyllic garden’.

West 8’s winning designs also include a gardener’s pavilion, inspired by a traditional shed but with a ‘contemporary twist’ and featuring rooftop beehives. 

Adriaan Geuze, design director of West 8, said the designs would turn Bernie Spain Gardens from a ‘sleeping beauty’ into a haven for wildlife and people.

He added: ‘The seasonal pollinator gardens will become a meeting point for the area’s diverse community of residents, office workers, and visitors. The design vision for the gardens is deeply rooted in the English DNA of creating gardens.

‘It will be a horticultural display garden and an educational landscape for children and for everyone who does not have access to a garden.’

CSCB said the appointment of West 8 was a ’major step forward’ in the transformation of the gardens and that the firm’s scheme had the ‘greatest public support’. 

Director Iain Tuckett said: ’We can only commission one team to take its proposals forward but all five teams showed ingenuity, imagination and real care in developing and presenting their proposals. We look forward to working with West 8 to create the pollinator garden.’

CSCB aims to submit a planning application for the proposal by the end of 2018.

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