Shortlist announced for competition to redesign historic City gardens

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The City of London Corporation has revealed the five firms shortlisted in its architectural design competition to transform the Grade II listed gardens at Finsbury Circus.

Measuring just under two acres, the site is the City’s largest open space and London’s first public park, receiving over two million visits year.

It is reopening in August after being closed to the public for 10 years due to Crossrail works.

The company used the area to access a section of tunnel between Farringdon and Liverpool Street below the park. Around two thirds of the site was occupied for the works, requiring the removal of a bowling green and the historic Grade II-listed drinking fountain which has been moved into temporary storage.

The City Corporation is seeking a joint bid from an architect and a landscaping business.

Applicants were asked to come up with creative and sustainable design ideas to return the park not only into a multifunctional public space with a pavilion – but also to restore its historic features and transform it into a green sanctuary within the Square Mile.

The five firms shortlisted are Alvisi – Kirimoto Partners S.R.L, Architecture 00 Limited, Feilden Fowles Architects Limited, Hall McKnight (Partnership), Paul Archer Design Limited.

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The shortlisted organisations will now progress to the ‘stage two’ design phase of the competition where they will provide their initial design concepts. The winner will be announced in September.

The City Corporation will work with the successful professional team to deliver the scheme.

Oliver Sells QC, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee, said: “We are excited to restore this key public space and I’m confident that this scheme will transform it once more into a green sanctuary.

“We are proud to be the guardians of this historic site and to support London’s architecture and landscaping firms in this endeavour.

“We will place equal importance on the design of the gardens and the buildings and I wish good luck to the five firms shortlisted.”

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 listed on Historic England’s register of Parks & Gardens of Historic Interest and sits within the Finsbury Circus Conservation Area.

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