Re: Re: college green/ o’connell street plaza and pedestrians
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What were your reference points?
We looked at all the classical spaces in Europe, very detailed studies of different squares.
It seemed to us that there was a style emerging in London. A lot of new space in London is on the back of section 106 agreements, where cheap granite from China is used and all the street furniture is stainless steel with a bit of glass in the signage. Thereâ€™s a sort of ubiquitous, corporate, commercial quality about it.
We didnâ€™t think it appropriate to put that type of environment into Parliament Square. At the same time, itâ€™s very difficult to put grass in areas that are going to get heavily trafficked.
The squareâ€™s also got a function for different events: pedestrian movement, with people going to work, but there are other key events such as state ceremonies. Weâ€™ve got to think about routes of ceremonial vehicles. Those carriages canâ€™t really go on a lawn, so we need to put hard surfaces there.
We were looking at greening and softening the space by putting in more trees and choosing the position of trees very carefully. We were maintaining the existing plane trees on the west side of the square, and putting in additional plane trees on the north side.
But Fosterâ€™s had concluded that the square needed to be hard paving, so did Halcrow Fox in the seventies. In the 1940s, Gordon Cullen did some fantastic drawings, again showing hard surfaces. Almost every 10 years, thereâ€™s another attempt at doing it, and everyone comes to the same conclusion.