New London Awards 2021 Winner - Elephant Park
Winner in the PLACEMAKING category
Sponsored by Vestre
The Park at the centre of Elephant Park is a spectacular green oasis at the heart of the ground-breaking revitalisation of Elephant & Castle by Lendlease and Southwark Council. At 2-acres, it’s an inclusive and sustainable community space featuring expansive lawns, colourful rain gardens, the landmark water playscape, Elephant Springs, and pedestrian walkways nestled within naturalistic planting. The park offers everyone living, visiting or working in the area unique and unforgettable social and recreational experiences and an opportunity to slow down, relax and connect with nature.
It was essential that the community’s views informed the design, so Gillespies and Lendlease worked closely with an Advisory Group from the local community and council to deliver this high-quality, distinctive and inclusive open space.
The Park has been shaped by the existing trees retained at the centre of the masterplan. By carefully protecting the trees at ground level, the team created a unique mature park with biodiversity and water management at its heart. Local biodiversity has been increased through new and retained trees, wide-scale deployment of rain gardens, and maintained planting.
A central feature, Elephant Springs rises seamlessly from the landscape; a rocky, water-world of fountains, waterfalls and beaches. Created from 300 tons of porphyry stone, chosen for its hard-wearing and slip-resistant properties when wet, Elephant Springs is somewhere for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy. In addition, the team worked with an accessibility consultant to ensure wheelchair users could also enjoy the space with their friends.
Gillespies and lead artist Mel Chantrey hope that Elephant Springs will make people think differently when designing public spaces.
Elephant Park aims to be the first climate-positive development by 2025. The Park's construction has created a local opportunity for residents, workers and visitors, in the form of employment, training and community initiatives. The planting design improves local biodiversity by incorporating 27 existing trees, 19 new trees, additional rain gardens with pollinator plants, and bat and bird boxes. The two-phased construction has delivered immediate access for the community, with the second phase doubling the amount of green space, creating a destination with plenty of recreational opportunities.
International Jury Quote
This project should be lauded and awarded as a peacemaker. It is original, unique and daring.