Architecture competition launched to redesign historic city gardens

The City of London Corporation has launched a design competition to transform the Grade II listed gardens at Finsbury Circus, in the Square Mile.

This two-stage competition is to come up with the most creative and sustainable design ideas to return Finsbury Circus Gardens not only into a multifunctional public space with a pavilion but also into a sanctuary within the Square Mile.

The governing body is seeking a joint bid from an architect and a landscape architect to deliver a new design for the reinstatement of Finsbury Circus Gardens and Pavilion.

Finsbury Circus Gardens is the City’s largest open space at 2,200 sqm, and this unique opportunity seeks to reinstate the hard and soft landscaping and pavilion on a site, which for the last ten years, a substantial part has been used by Crossrail to provide access to the section of tunnel between Farringdon and Liverpool Street.

It is looking for an exemplary design which is sympathetic to the historic gardens and surrounding buildings.

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

Finsbury Circus is the oldest and one of the most prestigious public parks in the City, receiving over two million visits year. In March 2010, Crossrail LTD (CRL) took possession of a substantial part of Finsbury Circus Garden for the purposes of a works site to construct its high-speed rail link. Approximately two thirds of the garden was occupied for its works, requiring the removal of the a bowling green, the historic drinking fountain (Grade II listed), and soft landscaping elements.

Historic features of the garden will be reinstated, such as the drinking fountain, which had been temporarily removed from site and are in storage.

Oliver Sells, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee, said:

“This is an exciting project to reinstate the oldest and largest public open space in the City of London. Since opening in the 17th century it has gone through many changes but it has been at the forefront of public garden design and many of those who have worked there have gone on to great things.

“We treasure and need our open spaces more than ever in today’s world as oases of peace, quiet and greenery, and I am determined that London shall have the very best we can offer. This is a chance, after a decade of occupation by Crossrail, to re-create a public garden worthy of this amazing and historic space. We are holding a public competition as we want to encourage new entrants, small firms and all in the garden design world to have a chance to make their mark. Good luck to all involved!”

To apply visit Capital Sourcing here. Applicants will have 30 days to apply, with the competition ending on 6 July 2020. Five entrants will make the shortlist, which will be announced in the coming months by the City Corporation.

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


Media Enquiries

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710860884 / 020 7332 1125

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK. 

The City Corporation protects and conserves 11,000 acres of green space in London and south east England – including Epping Forest and Hampstead Heath - and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile. They are funded by over £29million a year from the City Corporation and include important wildlife habitats, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.

Its green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve. They are funded by the City of London Corporation, together with donations, sponsorship, grants and income generated on site.