Leicester Square landscape architecture London

Burns + Nice were the landscape architects for Leicester Square

Burns + Nice were the landscape architects for Leicester Square

The 2012 re-design of Leicester Square by landscape architects Burns+Nice is working well. It was changed it from ‘just another London Square’ into the heart of a cinema district. But they could do with a big outdoor screen for showing the latest trailers and occasional full movies.

The  Square takes its name from the 2nd Earl of Leicester, who bought the land in 1630. He built a large house and enclosed the land which is now a public square. In 1874 Albert Grant bought the garden and gave it to the Metropolitan Board of Works for public use. The surrounding buildings came to be used for entertainment. In the 1980s Leicester Square was pedestrianised. Westminster Council went through years of consultation. Numerous designs were prepared by consultant landscape architects. Eventually, the Council decided the best option was to design a Shakespeare garden.

A competition for re-designing the Square was held in 2007 and won by the London landscape architects Burns + Nice. After more public consultation, construction began in 2010 and was completed in time for the 2012 Olympic Games. As’the home of British cinema’ and can attract half a million visitors in the course of a busy weekend. The white ribbon bench round the garden is almost always in use and the glitzy reflective railing pick up the flashing lights of the Square after dark. Children enjoy the dancing water-jets around the Shakespeare Fountain. I have also seen it used for wedding photography (presumably because so many London wedding venues do not have gardens].

Tom Turner

Posted in urban squares

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