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:: Master planning
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:: Environmental impact studies
:: Interior landscaping
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:: Roof gardens
:: Irrigation
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:: Landscape maintenance


Stockley House

Location: Victoria, London

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This was one of the first atrium buildings to be constructed outside the USA and was the first in England to be fully landscaped. The site was unusual as it was located immediately next to Victoria railway station and had to have a two story road passing through it. The building consists of two blocks running down the road sides and a glass wall on the third side which looked across the roof of the adjacent buildings. The floor of the atrium is therefore the roof of the road which passes under the building. The only real useable part of the building on the ground floor is the reception area, the remainder being plant rooms and structure, plus road.

There is a low level area of the atrium and two storeys higher there is a terrace. On the ground floor there is a large central pool fed by a cascade which originates at the foot of the three wall climbing lifts and a much smaller stream in the distant corner of the atrium. The planting consists of a number of large trees including the first 10m tall tree to be installed outside North America. The majority of the trees are Ficus benjamina although there are also a number of palms.

It is important to note the historical significance of this scheme. At a time when no one had even contemplated transporting trees by sea for three weeks Technical Landscape persuaded the client that it was possible. This in turn was only possible because Stephen Scrivens had carried out five years of detailed laboratory research. The idea of deep shade acclimatisation was accepted but the secret of success lay in soaking the rootballs and wrapping them in polythene whilst keeping the foliage dry and well ventilated. Moving the trees in their dormant season and by keeping the temperature low in the container meant that leaf drop amounted to no more than 5%. The trees were unwrapped after they arrived in England and kept in a glasshouse on the outskirts of London for six months before they were used.

Under the trees there was a luxurious ground cover of assorted Dracaenas, Dieffenbachias, Aglonoma and Scindapsus. To soften the walls of the atrium there were planters at ever floor. These consisted of troughs which were linked together so that an electrode sensor at one end could maintain a water level. The plants were potted in special plastic buckets which had snouts on the bottom which hung into the reservoir. The conditions were so ideal that the trailing plants such as Philodendron scandens and Scindapsus aureous grow more than five meters per annum.

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