Respite from the urban jungle
Development of the Year, Sunday Times British Home Awards
SWIG Award for Urban Greening
At Rathbone Market we took rainfall and made it a star - filtering, recirculating and recycling to create a playful aquatic aesthetic.
This award-winning development was built around a far-sighted vision: to create a new community that would be environmentally and socially sustainable. The masterplan included mixed tenure housing, public squares, a new library and community centre, all set around a reinvigorated Rathbone Market.
Set against an urban context of tall towers and busy roads, our design would create a series of green oases where residents could connect with nature. For us that meant a celebration of rainwater backed by a calming green aesthetic – allowing for some flourishes of inspired technical innovation along the way.
A raised pond harvests rainwater from the surrounding rooftops, filtering and recirculating it around the gardens via a playful rill. Recycled water irrigates a double-sided green wall that acts as an acoustic barrier, shielding the housing from a busy road. Softly planted rain gardens come to life when the skies open.
With space at a premium, many of the rooftops have been opened up to residents – providing play areas and richly planted roof terraces in which to kick back and relax. Others employ innovative blue roof technology which captures and stores water during heavy rains – producing economies for the contractor and relieving pressure on busy underground services.
Rathbone Market remains at the heart of the community – just as it has been for the past 150 years. A warm textured surface of clay bricks and granite defines the layout for the market stalls, and bespoke lighting brings the market to life after dark, with dappled light filtering through the trees. People are put first, with new traffic-free streets and a light-filled underpass improving community connections.
"We always consider the social alongside the environmental - strengthening communities and connecting them with nature."