content © SW
with ReardonSmith Landscape

A new 100-year design life café-restaurant pavilion and a low-carbon parks office building within a holistic redesign of the largest and oldest public open space in the City of London.

City of London Corporation
7425 m2
Project dates
Design: July 2021 – October 2021 Planning Approval: March 2022
Services provided
Site Masterplan, Architecture Concept, Developed & Technical Design (RIBA St 1-4)
Design team
  • ReardonSmith Landscape (Landscape Architect)

  • Engenuiti (Civil & Structural Engineer)

  • XCO2 (M&E Engineer)

  • MYA (Catering Consultants)

  • Tim O’Hare (Soils Consultant)

  • Tim Moya (Arboriculture Consultant)

  • MOLA (Heritage Consultant)

  • Tibbalds (Planning Consultant)

Project type
ArchitectureLandscape & Public Realm
Use type
Civic & CulturalLeisure & Recreation

Studio Weave were appointed by the City of London Corporation following a high-profile international competition to rejuvenate the site with a holistic landscape masterplan, incorporating a new café/restaurant pavilion building and parks office. Finsbury Circus Gardens is the City’s largest and oldest public open space – a social space since the 17th century – but the project follows a ten year period of site closure for Crossrail works beneath. The project replaces amenity, biodiversity and civic space which was lost during the Crossrail construction period; delivering a 21st century landscape exemplar, activated by new civic infrastructure.

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Finsbury Circus is an extremely sensitive heritage context; it is itself a Listed Garden, surrounded by Listed Buildings including by Lutyens, and within its own Conservation Area. Our proposals fully integrate architecture and landscape designs which complement the setting by: preserving key features such as the mature trees and perimeter path; and reinforcing the circus character with the garden geometry and pavilion materiality.

The site masterplan reconciles significant below ground constraints – including Crossrail and Metropolitan Line tunnels, as well as extensive root protection areas – and facilitates accessibility and servicing of the pavilion via a dedicated independent gateway.

Garden proposals include: the creation of an inner ring of biodiverse planting, featuring meandering kentish ragstone routes through areas of wetland planting supporting sustainable urban drainage and woodland planting in shady areas. And an amenity lawn bordered with seasonally diverse perennials and a continuous edge of portland stone.

Architectural proposals include: a sculptural vaulted pavilion curving in-line with the inner pathway, clad in the same portland stone that bounds the lawn – with ‘front of house’ enjoying panoramic views of the gardens, ‘back of house’ nestled amongst planting and tree cover. And a modest parks office also nestled amongst large shrubs and small trees, grounded by a skirting of the same kentish ragstone used throughout the planting.

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