Aldgate has been radically transformed through the City of London Corporation’s Aldgate Highway Changes and Public Realm Improvements Projects, one of the most prominent projects in the City that has been gradually planned and refined over the last ten years. The 24 million-pound-project, largely funded by City of London Corporation, Transport for London (TfL) was opened to the public in July 2018 and has involved the removal of an unappealing gyratory system to create a transformational public realm with new connections and public spaces, for the benefit of the of the local community.
Gillespies was appointed by the City of London Corporation to deliver landscape and public realm design for this pedestrianisation project.
The overall aim of the project was transform the notorious traffic dominated gyratory road system into a safer, healthier and more pleasant environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Gillespies’ designs replaced the busy roads with attractive, pedestrian-friendly streets, a segregated cycle route running north – south through the square, and two new public spaces.
Aldgate Square is the centrepiece of this transformational scheme and sits on the western side of the former gyratory between the Grade-II listed Primary School and Grade-I listed Church. It is one of the largest public spaces in the City, and is now home to a new community meeting place and social enterprise café within the Portsoken Pavilion, designed by Make Architects. The square comprises a large oval lawn surrounded with low-level stone seating, planting, trees, bespoke furniture, contemporary lighting, and an interactive water feature for children to use during the summer months.
The design of this square is contemporary, beautiful and distinctive, yet respectful of the surrounding listed architecture.
The project also included the restoration of the churchyard gardens, which have been enlarged to sensitively realign the setting of the church, bringing the focus back to the historic building. The gardens are richly detailed with lush, high-quality seasonal planting and provide a secluded and tranquil space for quiet relaxation and contemplation.