Walthamstow Wetlands

Hugely popular and intelligent integration of architecture and landscape

Walthamstow Wetlands.
Walthamstow Wetlands. Credit: Jason Orton

Witherford Watson Mann for Waltham Forest Council
Contract value including extensive landscape: £4.85m
GIA: 738m²
Cost per m²: £3,225

The Walthamstow Wetlands cover 200 hectares of previously private reservoir land. The site now very successfully links four London boroughs, opening up a beautiful expanse of land and waterscape for public recreation.

  • Walthamstow Wetlands.
    Walthamstow Wetlands. Credit: Heini Schneebeli
  • Walthamstow Wetlands.
    Walthamstow Wetlands. Credit: Heini Schneebeli
  • Walthamstow Wetlands.
    Walthamstow Wetlands. Credit: Heini Schneebell
  • Walthamstow Wetlands.
    Walthamstow Wetlands. Credit: Heini Schneebell
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The collaboration between client and architect, involving multiple stakeholders and specialist consultants, has been exemplary, exceeding the brief – which was to provide amenities and infrastructure to allow public access to the site, including two original buildings. 

The sensitive handling of the restoration of these historic waterworks buildings is particularly successful, combining reclaimed and new materials. The main visitor centre is in the former Engine House – now with a new swift- and bat-roost chimney – while the Victorian Coppermill Tower has been converted into a second viewing platform further along the route.

The signage and wayfinding underlines the industrial past of the site. Hugely popular, it is an intelligent integration of architecture and landscape to create a new public space.

See more winners in the RIBA Regional Awards – London Community


 

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