Sitting directly over the railway tracks at the back of Liverpool Street station, a large plaza has recently been transformed into a delightful pocket park.
The plaza used to be a fairly bland stone clad space on two levels created in the early 1990s, with a modest bit of lawn on the lower level, and the rest being paved with some trees, a lot of pink granite and not much else.
Now, the space is totally different.
Away with the pink stone and the wide open spaces, and in with a much softer white terrazzo that looks almost pliable until you touch it and realise it’s solid. A new water cascade flows down the steps which are now themselves also given more organic edges compared to the strict linear layout before.
The most dramatic change though is the upper level where the wide open flat plaza has been broken up into a series of corridors and open air rooms with deep pockets of heavy planting with new trees and loads of flowering bedding plants.
So many plants that it was noticeable that there were a lot of butterflies in the space on my visit.
The new planting isn’t just at the top, as it also cascades down the sides closest to the station shed and softens the barrier between the park and the station.
It’s very easy to miss, and I only realised when researching, that there’s a bit of railway referenced in the design. Along the top of the steps is a dark band of metal edging running most of the width of the park, and is supposed to represent a railway girder. You might need to squint a bit to get the idea they were aiming for, but at least they tried.
A new cafe sits to one side on the lower level replacing one that sat in front of the glass wall overlooking the railway station shed.
One of the delights of the new design, for a certain sort of person, is that you can walk up onto the cafe’s roof, and from up here, you get a really good view into Liverpool Street station. Much better than the view that used to be possible from the old plaza.
The landscape design is by DSDHA and was completed last year.
Candidly, the old plaza was so bland that almost anything would be an improvement, but the way they’ve smoothed the angles and added in vastly more planting has really transformed the space into something a lot more pleasant to look at and sit in.
I didn’t mention the fat lady sculpture. I’ll leave that to you to decide for yourself.