Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Information about this scheme
Walthamstow Wetlands has international significance as a multifunctioning landscape within the pressures of Europe’s largest world city. This significance not only relates to its important role for migrating birds but it is also the largest Urban Wetland in Europe and is a precedent for public access to urban water reservoirs in areas of high ecological sensitivity. The vision for the site included an enhanced ‘green core’ to protect and extend existing key habitats. As part of this sensitive approach to the site’s rich ecology, an improved pedestrian/cycle route was provided through the site, located strategically to connect local neighbourhoods in areas of access to nature deficiency whilst concurrently protecting key habitat sites through extensive screening with planted banks and habitat gates. Another key vision was to create a simple accessible route through the site that wrapped into buildings and was very legible, using a family of materials that could be applied inside buildings and outside that reflected the sites industrial heritage.
A key element to the project was the conversion of the former Marine Engine House in to a new visitor centre and cafe to focus visitor activity near to the local public transport hubs and revive a distinctive Edwardian building of significant architectural merit.
The team successfully navigated the complexities of both the site, the client and funding groups to create a seamless integration of Architecture and Landscape. Embracing the industrial archaeological character of the site and reusing the palette of materials on site has enabled existing defunct industrial features to be retained and celebrated as part of the character of the Wetlands. Increasing wetland habitat on site has helped mitigate the effects of increased access in addition to diversifying the range of habitats. In addition, the Wetland site promotes sustainable travel by encouraging visitors to cycle, walk or use public transport to access the site.
This strategically important project was Landscape Architecture led and has championed long term ecological visions that make strategic change to the city.
Kinnear Landscape Architects
Witherford Watson Mann
Ramboll UK - Reedbed engineering
People Friendly Design
Planting design consultant
Primary Use Class
Class D1f - Public Library/Archive/Visitor Centre