The main quadrangle - or General Court - of Old Guys Hospital, completed in 1738, was used for many years as a car park, and featured a number of mature trees surrounding the statue of Thomas Guy.
Boland House, the wing to the East of the General Court, was identified as an ideal building to house the new Science Gallery, connecting art, science and health, and to drive innovation in the heart of the city. The General Court was to be opened up to the public for their enjoyment.
As part of the remodelling, new trees were to be incorporated to replace the ones that had been removed. The trees were to be planted using GreenBlue Urban systems where the uncompacted soil volumes were not easily accessible.
This ancient area, with history dating back to the Roman era, made the excavation challenging. Archaeologists had to attend and supervise any digging, and a number of bones were found during the tree pit installations. In addition to these obstructions, numerous utility pipes and ducts were found and the tree pits were constructed around these so as not to disturb essential services.
GreenBlue Urban worked alongside ESL Landscape Contractors and Landscape Architects LDA Design and RootSpace 600 soil cells were specified and installed.
The trees will provide benefits to all for many years to come, helped by the sufficient soil volumes ensured by the use of the RootSpace 600 soil cells, and with many utilities found on site, there was much need for root management. Stabilisation with ArborGuy and above-ground Castle tree grilles completed the work and complement the paved areas.
The General Court is a fine example of a tranquil public space in a highly urbanised position. New stone steps running along both sides of the courtyard provide adequate seating areas, a café and shop deal with the needs of visitors, and the trees are growing healthily – making this spectacular plaza at the foot of The Shard a popular visitor attraction for years to come.