The City of London has opened an architectural competition to refurbish Finsbury Circus gardens and its pavilion after Crossrail vacates the site.
Crossrail has occupied about two-thirds of the gardens for the past decade as they used it to dig down and sideways to the tunnels underneath and also to pump compensation grouting into the ground as the tunnel boring machines passed through to minimise any subsidence issues.
Now that Crossrail is pulling out, they need to revamp the gardens, and the City of London has decided to take the opportunity to revamp them as well, rather than returning to the pre-Crossrail layout.
The City says that it is looking for an “exemplary design which is sympathetic to the historic gardens and surrounding buildings.”
Some historic features of the garden will need to be reinstated, such as the drinking fountain, which had been temporarily removed from the site and are in storage.
The Garden has been owned by the City Corporation since 1812, but dates back to 1606 when it was laid out as London’s first public park. It is Grade II listed on Historic England’s register of Parks & Gardens of Historic Interest and sits within the Finsbury Circus Conservation Area.
Competition details are here.
Surrounded by tall buildings and tall trees, the gardens seem smaller than they are, but are one of the largest open spaces within the City – even when much of it was occupied by a bowling green.
Already popular locally they are likely to become more so when Crossrail pull out, as the City has already said that it will pedestrianise the road linking Moorgate with the gardens, and that will attract more visitors.