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Nature reserve wins popular design vote

by Natalie Vincent Thu 5 July 2018, 4:24 pm

Walthamstow Wetlands, a 211-ha nature site created from the former Walthamstow Reservoirs, won the People's Choice prize, at this year's New London Awards.

Image courtesy of Kinnear Landscape Architects

The awards recognise design excellence in large-scale development projects across the city, with 30 developments winning prizes across various categories.

The Wetlands were designed by Walthamstow Wetlands were designed by Kinnear Landscape Architects and Witherford Watson Mann Architects, collaborating with Waltham Forest Council, Thames Water and London Wildlife to bring the disused land to life, opening in October 2017.

Activities such as cycling, angling, volunteering and birdwatching can be undertaken at the site, with new facilities including the renovated Marine Engine House, which houses a visitors' centre and cafe. 

William Mann, director at Witherford Watson Mann Architects, said: “It’s not every day as an architect that you get the chance to build in a place that you love, or to design for public rather than private benefit. We’ve been lucky enough to work for a brave client group, which brought a lot to the process and trusted us when it counted.

"Adapting existing buildings is a real challenge, the Engine House and the Coppermill have such strong identities. Our additions are quite robust but they’re carefully tailored and quite crafted. Walthamstow Wetlands means a lot to us, it's great that so many others share that feeling."

Lynn Kinnear of Kinnear Landscape Architects, and the lead consultant for Walthamstow Wetlands, added: "When we first walked into this landscape we were delighted by the beauty of the reservoirs and their abundant bird life.  It has been such an important project for our team to open up public access to this special place and give access to nature for Londoners".

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