West London Square, London (2018)
A West London Square re-envisaged to create an engaging and uplifting landscape within the bustling West End
This large garden square sits within the district of Mayfair, an area historically characterised by prestigious housing to suit the upper classes. There remains a substantial quantity of luxury residential property, upmarket shops and restaurants but the decline of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century led to the area becoming more diverse, with commercial interests replacing residential, with many former homes converted into offices for corporate headquarters, embassies and other businesses.
The square in its current design and spatial form somehow misses the opportunity to provide the antithesis to sensory overload of the busy shopping streets nearby. The surrounding areas are full of the latest places to be seen and trends to follow. The square does not need a gimmick to draw people in, instead it should retain its timelessness and historic elegance, but use these characteristics in a way that creates a fully inclusive space that generates a real love of the space by its users.
The design approach we put forward is based on creating a space that is engaging for all users through a nuanced design, that looks at how the psychological landscape can be as comfortable for as many people as possible. Within the square some users will want quiet and escape, while others want vibrance and activity. Some users will want technological blocking, whereas others would want to use the square as a space to digitally connect or work. The proposal aims to reinvigorate the square through increased permeability to the outer edges, provide two central event and activity spaces and numerous opportunities for quiet and escape amongst the existing mature trees, providing a truly inclusive space for its diversity of users.
While it is impossible for public space to provide the perfect environment for every person who uses it, our proposal can at least provide a real engagement and a multi-layered programme enabling a variety of uses at different times.