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City park with water playscape lets children’s imaginations run wild

“A superbly executed and mature urban park that extends far into the surrounding street network, setting high expectations that are met with beautiful water and other garden amenity features,” Bob Fry, Judge.

Project: The Park within Elephant Park

Award: Urban Landscape, Silver, 2022

Location: Elephant and Castle, London, UK

Architect: Gillespies

Client: Lendlease in partnership with Southwark Council

The Park features two-acres of inclusive and sustainable community space featuring expansive lawns, colourful rain gardens, walkways and the landmark water playscape, Elephant Springs. It is the centrepiece of Elephant Park, the wider revitalisation of Elephant & Castle by Lendlease and Southwark Council which aims to be net zero carbon in operation by 2025.
The Park is shaped around 27 retained, mature trees and a further 19 new trees, chosen for their suitability for conditions, resilience to climate change, and diversity of species to mitigate biosecurity issues and deliver ecological value. The incorporation of rain gardens helps to manage the rainwater falling on the site, infiltrating surface water runoff from paved areas into the underground aquifer rather than overburdening London's sewer system. Pedestrian and cycle routes connect it to the surrounding areas of Southwark and the transport network, encouraging green, sustainable methods of travel to and from the area.

Design highlights

At the heart of the Park sits a unique water playscape, Elephant Springs. This rocky water-world of fountains, waterfalls and sandy beaches featuring water streams, pumps and activated jets provides a sensory experience for children and allows their imaginations to run wild. Created from 300 tons of Italian porphyry stone, chosen for its hard wearing and slip-resistant properties when wet, Elephant Springs is a fully accessible and tactile space designed to delight, challenge and excite children and adults alike.

  • The Park within Elephant Park
  • The Park within Elephant Park
  • The Park within Elephant Park
  • The Park within Elephant Park
  • The Park within Elephant Park
  • The Park within Elephant Park
  • The Park within Elephant Park
  • The Park within Elephant Park
  • The Park within Elephant Park

Photo Credit: Aurélien Langlais + Lendlease

  • WATER FEATURE DESIGNER: Mel Chantrey and The Fountain Workshop
    ARBORICULTURAL SPECIALIST: Treework Environmental Practice
    IRRIGATION SPECIALISTS: Waterscapes Limited
    PAVILION ARCHITECT: Bell Philips Architects

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