Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Reopening of Cutty Sark Gardens by Queen Elizabeth II in Greenwich, UK by OKRA
May 6th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: OKRA
Reopening of Cutty Sark Gardens by Queen Elizabeth II
The reopening of the Cutty Sark Gardens by Queen Elizabeth II has been a great success for Greenwich. Despite heavy rain the public were out in large numbers on this particular occasion. The Cutty Sark Gardens, designed by OKRA received much praise and is indicated as one.of the key projects in the Mayor of London’s initiative for public space; the Mayor’s Great Spaces.
With the Olympics in prospect it was the task of OKRA to rejuvenate the Cutty Sark Gardens form an over looked location, surrounded by the backsides of buildings and a through route into the tourist destination on the river Thames and a gateway to Greenwich that it truly is. The fascinating location of Cutty Sark gardens recalls the rich history of international travel and entrepreneurship within Britain, which is also evident at the Greenwich Meridian, the Royal Naval College and the tea clipper Cutty Sark herself. These elements stand in stark contrast to how the place had become: heavy traffic in the core, interrupted cycling and pedestrian connections and a square dominated by a carelessly placed parking and difficult transitions to the surroundings.
The idea behind the winning competition entry ‘Tidal tectonics’ by OKRA is a square that responds to the tides: responding not only to the location on the Thames but also cope with the flows of people who will use the square: calm in the early hours and with a large number of visitors during holidays. The idea of a tidal square is based on flexibility so that the large scale can also be associated as an intimate place. This can be achieved by resizing the space. A wet floor centrally located on the square can make it more intimate and when the water disappears, the floor is suitable to walk on. The illuminating the space reinforces the daily, weekly and year-round night rhythm. A gradient to the river forms the transition from urban to green in a sequence of spheres: the urban network, the square around the tea clipper and the River Thames’ walk. Not only in a functional way to accommodate elevation changes within the site but also to create a balcony overlooking the river Thames.
In this sequence, the central position of the Cutty Sark becomes strengthened; it is a sculpture on the border of square and park. The tectonic landscape provides easy access to the various levels. Cutty Sark Gardens achieves a better relationship with the Thames and the surrounding streets.
The Cutty Sark Gardens are now completed, in time for the Olympics start, transformed into a prominent place along the Thames and an essential part of the green route along Royal Naval College Green and the river with views of the industrial heritage and the skyline of Canary Wharf and central London.
Category: Public Landscapes