City of London, UK
Penthouse Roof Terrace
What design vision did you have in mind for the roof terrace?
Our first objective in designing the gardens for Landmark Place Plot #151 was to identify a clear and pure distinction of space, in an area without actual walls. Working with Michael Veal, from Goddard Littlefair, we knew we wanted to create generous areas for dining and lounging, whilst also allowing for more separated, intimate, peripheral zones, where one can get lost taking in the city beyond. The penthouse terrace has to operate both as an entertainment space, and a place for peaceful contemplation.
Our next priority was to frame and guide the eye out to London. The terrace is extensive, which provided us with opportunities and challenges. We knew a space this expansive needed substantial gardens to juxtapose the strong architectural mix of metal, glass and stone, comprising the city beyond.
Facing this challenge, we decided to make a statement by dividing the terrace with a large, single planting island, one that gently tiers up, and centres on the main entrance to the interior living space. Directly ahead, upon entering the open-concept interior, one's visual journey starts with a low-level water feature, and moves up through the planting island's textural composition of soft green and blue hues. One's eye then focuses outward, taking in Tower Bridge, emerging prominently, beyond the garden.
Our final objective was to create an oasis where one feels grounded in nature, despite being eight floors in the sky. Here you find yourself perched above London, in an intimate living space, a tree-house, of sorts.
In practical terms, the terrace is sun-soaked, southeast facing, and exposed to The Thames. This fact meant choosing durable planting combinations, ones which define London's contemporary gardening style.
What is your usual brief for a project like this?
Every project is as unique as its client and location. From start to finish, it is about achieving the client's goal, from an aesthetic, and practical, perspective.
Our typical clients are interested in focusing attention in certain areas, and lessening it in others. Through view-framing, and screening, we help clients achieve a balanced space.
The climate and exposure will dictate our selections, from plants to materials. Existing environmental factors, along with the client's desires, are our project launching point.
What is unique about this space?
It is rare to have a private, centrally-located London terrace, of this generous size, with so many unparalleled views of London's most iconic landmarks. The gardens needed to accentuate and enhance London's skyline, both from the terrace looking down, and from The Thames, looking up. This space is truly unique in every sense of the word.