TOWNSHEND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS
URBAN SUSTAINABILITY CENTRE
The Crystal is a 'sustainable cities initiative' by Siemens which explores the ways we can create a better future for our cities. The building itself houses the world's largest interactive exhibition on urban sustainability, bringing together key city decision makers and the public under one roof. As a world-class centre for dialogue, discovery and learning it reveals the challenges that our cities face and highlights the different ways we can reduce our environmental impact using sustainable technology. The building incorporates an exhibition space showcasing sustainable technologies, with a cafe, shop, auditorium, conference and office facilities and it is anticipated to attract circa 100,000 visitors each year. The site is located within the proposed Green Enterprise District in East London on the edge of Royal Victoria Dock. At the project's launch by Andreas J. Goss [Siemens Plc.], Boris Johnson [Mayor of London] and Sir Robin Wales [Mayor of Newham] on 27th May 2010, the project was hailed as a new landmark building in East London to kick-start the Green Enterprise District, "a project that will transform one of the most deprived carbon marketplaces across London". The project achieved BREEAM 'Outstanding' as well as the international LEED 'Platinum' rating. Townshend Landscape Architects were appointed by Siemens and the London Borough of Newham to ensure that high quality public spaces were designed and delivered, for the use and enjoyment of both visitors and the local community. The aim was to create a landscape that was distinctive yet maintained the area's character and identity, providing a richer, more engaging landscape. Townshend Landscape Architects worked closely with the London Borough of Newham and Design for London to create a framework for establishing a 'Community Strategy' for the Centre. The community pavilion situated within the landscape acts as a hub hosting regular events such as workshops, gardening days and urban beekeeping. In addition the design has resulted in a reduced ecological footprint through specifying materials with a lower embodied energy, plants that are climate sensitive, reducing water consumption for maintenance, and where water is required it is harvested or filtered from the environment.