An armistice of tranquility at Royal Arsenal Riverside, Woolwich
Royal Arsenal Riverside is one of South East London’s most exciting riverside addresses, sitting at the heart of Woolwich, which is rapidly emerging as one of London’s bright spots; occupying prime location along the River Thames and offering a buzzing retail hub.
Maribor Park aims to provide a bold, new green space, providing a link between Woolwich Town Centre and the River Thames. The park when fully complete will serve the wider community with extensive opportunities for recreation and play, set within a lush, verdant landscape. The park itself takes the form of a green spine, its linear form reflecting the industrial history of the immediate area and its strong association with the rope making industry. Central to this green spine, is a long, linear water feature, linking the park together visually.
Why was Hardscape brought in?
A key design component of the water feature was a number of stone inclusions that would direct the water’s flow, act as informal play elements for children and visual elements in their own right. Gillespies, along with Fountains Workshop, settled on Prima Porphyry early on, due to how it reacts with water and the huge amount of character and variety of colour tones.
To achieve the design intent of the team, it was realised early on that each stone would need to be selected individually to ensure we could achieve the narrative across the park that we wanted and ensure the colour and composition of the stones arrangements was just right. Hardscape was brought in at this stage, as they understood the importance of this and were able to facilitate us visiting a quarry, selecting the stones, setting them and managing the tagging of each piece.
They key specifications that were needed to be met were colour and character. The vision was for the Prima Porphyry pieces to change from smaller oxide/buff pieces in the Source and progress to larger grey/blue pieces in the Delta and Terraces.
Each stone within the water feature was individually selected and set out on in the quarry to ensure the colour and composition of the stones would achieve the design intent. These were then brought to site, re-set out as in the quarry, and then rejigged on site within the water feature to ensure achieving the best possible effect with the stones and water feature itself.
Without the materials selected the project simply would not be what it is. The Prima Porphyry was key to defining the character, look and feel of the Source and act as the element that will ultimately link the park together when it is fully complete.
The main challenge faced was that the design team had very specific requirements for the size, look and character of the Prima Porphyry inclusions as noted earlier. Finding a supplier who could allow the team to be as involved as they needed be to achieve their design vision was critical to the success of the project.
Hardscape helped by giving the design team access to the specific quarries, allowing them to spend as much time as they needed to select and set-out the stones at the quarry and providing advice along the way on what they would and wouldn’t be able to do with the material, Hardscape was an integral part of the team and the project’s ultimate success.
The Source provides the first piece of a new, high-quality green space for the residents of Royal Arsenal Riverside and the wider Woolwich neighbourhood. By creating a public space for relaxation, play and delight, it will set the standard for the rest of the Park’s development
The design process we used for the water feature was atypical for Gillespies. Rather than doing a set of drawings and then simply having the contractor build off of them, the design team, Hardscape, and client worked together throughout the design, procurement and construction process.