London, United Kingdom | 2019
Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s landscape design at Buckingham Green creates a new high-quality public realm between two buildings within a 140,000sqft mixed-use scheme, situated at the edge of St James’s and close to Westminster Abbey.
Where the design for The Tower (Originally designed by Elsom Pack & Roberts in the international style as 64 Buckingham Gate, 1978) paid homage to Mies van der Rohe’s architectural vision, Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s landscape design enhances the building and the immediate area by extending this vision in a more complete and refined form.
The irregular placement of buildings on the site sets a theme of jaunted angles and a varied assembly of styles and palettes. To unify the composition of new and existing buildings, reference is made to the early-20th century artist Kazimir Malevich. Where his paintings played with the rich variations of tones and textures of a colour to create a rich, warm palette that suggest infinite space, Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s placement of an abstract shape in contrasting coloured stone with skewed and off-centre positions gives the illusion of subtle movement and directionality, thus mediating the difficult angles of the buildings.
High-quality materials are used across private and public spaces and include bush-hammered ‘Caesar white’ granite around the edge of The Tower, and honed black ‘Tritanial’ granite for the central element, with a bronze trim applied through a concealed drain, complementing bronze street furniture. A single Gingko biloba tree anchors the public realm design between the two buildings.
Additionally, two roof terraces on levels 4 (Measuring 85m2) and 6 (122m2) of The Caxton provide office workers with views out to Westminster Abbey and central London. A single bench appears to float above the ground, while long linear benches clad with ‘Kirkstone Brathay’ black slate (L6) and powder-coated steel (L4) double as raised planters. These hold a planting scheme arranged in strong bands comprised of multi-stemmed birch trees (Betula pendula) underplanted with white, blue and purple-flowering woodland planting. ‘Beola’ Granite is used for the paving on both terraces: its directional pattern providing a strong contrast to the black slate used elsewhere.