British Land


Architect & Engineering: Arup Associates


Ropemaker is an office building situated close to Moorgate in the City of London. Townshend Landscape Architects designed a series of roof terraces comprising 593,000 sq ft for occupiers in the financial services industry. The terraces will provide an oasis of green, which will be visually pleasing, while additionally providing a functional gathering area for staff and visitors to the building. The planting also has the added environmental benefit of helping to cool the surrounding atmosphere helping to reduce urban heat gain through shading and transpiration.
The concept for the landscape design was to break the strong orthogonal lines of the building, and to help soften the feeling of the terraces when seen against the backdrop of the building. The series of planted mounds, whose forms are based on a mathematical theorem, provide a sense of enclosure and while allowing a series of dynamic spaces to be formed that lead the eye around the terrace or draw it to longer distance views.
The height and shape of the mounds on each terrace are subtly different, a feeling which is accentuated by the differing plant palettes chosen for them.

The users have the opportunity to explore and enjoy a variety of plants, trees and stunning City views, without having to see the building cleaning equipment, located around the edge of each terrace.

All terraces are paved with a high quality blue limestone and the benches in the seating areas have been planned as triangular stone sculptures, carved into the mounds behind them. The attention to detail follows through to the light fixtures and follows the triangular theme.

A series of trees are planted at strategic points on the mounds to reinforce the sense of enclosure, accentuate a view or provide a focal point of interest. The principal species of trees are Himalayan Silver Birch (Betula jaquemontii), Flowering Dogwood (Cornus contraversa), Snowy Mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii) and Pocket Handkerchief Tree (Davidia involucrata). Each was chosen for the qualities of its form, leaf colour and in some instances also its flowering characteristics. These groupings were reinforced by strategically positioned specimen shrubs to give height and a sense of scale to the planting. The plants chosen are Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata), Winter Flowering Cherry (Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis') and the Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum).