Focus on environmental design - two concepts for green urban design


Contact Madeleine Hug, Associate Director

Successful environmental design is about working with rather than in opposition to the natural world where possible. Here, Madeleine Hug, Associate Director and Environmental Design lead in our London studio, with Paul Cristian, Architectural Assistant, presents two design concepts that demonstrate the positive role both trees and gardens can play in successful placemaking.

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Forest view

1. Structure defined by trees

Given the hugely important role of trees and forests in climate change mitigation, can we design around them rather than remove them? Can our structures be more respectful of nature? 

The concept is for a cellular construction that allows a canopy edge to develop naturally around established trees. Derived from nature, this hexagonal form is inherently stable and scalable. Like a tetris puzzle, it can be built up and extended with an edge that is formed around trees and key landscape elements.
Flexibility of the canopy footprint allows existing habitats to remain undisturbed and in place. Designed as a CLT frame, the structure increases carbon storage potential beyond what is gained from retaining, instead of removing, established trees.

Maddy trees

2. In celebration of the London garden

London is undoubtedly one of the greenest cities of its scale in the world with 47% of its area consisting of green space. Only 23% however, is public. 

Very often these gardens remain inaccessible even to those living on the property. This is due to the degradation of green space and poor management, predominantly in popular rental areas. There needs to be a greater incentive to restore and maintain these spaces for Londoners to use. Echoing the London Garden Square, this concept seeks to create a shared garden park, by allowing private property owners to opt-in and share resources to establish and operate local green space for all inhabitants. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, WFH arrangements have increased and our lives have become more localised. Strengthening communities through great open space provision is now more important than ever.

Paul C gardens
Maddy trees
Paul C gardens