Walthamstow Reservoirs are typical of the postindustrial patchwork of green space and infrastructure that characterise the Lea Valley. With limited public access for their 150 year history, the reservoirs have a unique engineered landscape; industrial heritage and ecological value - strikingly removed both physically and mentally from the adjacent dense urban populations. Stakeholders united over a shared vision of opening the Reservoirs to public access and reconnecting to the Valley, however tensions existed between this vision and protection of designated species within London’s main water supply.
The multidisciplinary team led by Kinnear Landscape Architects objectives were:
- A Green core and main route to absorb large numbers of visitors. The route was envisaged as a landscape that extends through and up buildings linking entrances, creating elevated points and revealing the whole Lea Valley landscape
- Welcoming entrances that encounter or cross water to encourage visitors to change their pace and develop behaviour required for an urban nature reserve.
- An ecological vision for transformative long term objectives such as reed beds to support breeding bittern populations as well as mitigating the visual impact of increased visitors on birds.
- Embracing the industrial aesthetic of the site and repurposing industrial artifacts as manmade ecology