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Cambridge Water Company HQ landscaping, UK

The sleek, modern architectural design for the new Cambridge Water Company headquarters required a complementing landscape scheme and roof garden that reflected the ethos of the client.

image showing water canal around building edge
Cambridge Water Company HQ landscaping, UK
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Cambridge Water Company HQ landscaping, UK Our landscape architects designed a linear water feature around the building perimeter to reflect the dykes found in the Cambridgeshire fenlands, ensuring the landscaping is sympathetic to the local countryside setting.

Key facts

Our landscape architects worked closely with local chartered architects Barber Casanovas Ruffles to ensure that the landscaping was sympathetic to both the local countryside setting with its fenlands and water dykes and the modern urban design of the building.

Inspired by elements from the water environment, we created a simple uncluttered geometric design, which received planning consent and was well received by the client. The perimeter of the building included a linear water feature, reminiscent of a dyke. The palette of hard materials included timber paving and slate chippings.

Planting design for the exterior focused on ornamental plants with a vertical form such as bamboo, to reflect the image of reed beds that are normally associated with wetlands.

Challenges and solutions

Designing the roof garden needed particular care. The dry, windy south-facing elevated position was not ideal for either people or plants.

Bespoke wire mesh walls (to support a soft drape of climbers) were designed to break up the linear expanse of decking and to offer secluded and sheltered seating areas more conducive to social interaction.

Value and benefits

The key to the planting scheme's success was to utilise Cambridge Water Company’s policy of water conservation through the use of drought tolerant planting. We also designed the planting and landscaping to be low maintenance, reducing the long term operational cost to our client.

Cambridge City Council awarded the scheme the David Urwin Design Award, which celebrated the design of new and extended or altered buildings in Cambridge.

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