Burns + Nice scoops Landscape Institute President Award for new London Leicester Square

London practice Burns + Nice has won the top accolade in the Landscape Institute Awards for its reworking of Leicester Square City Quarter in London.

 The project was chosen by LI president Sue Illman from the other award winners announced today at a ceremony in the Bloomsbury Big Top, Coram's Fields, London, hosted by Red or Dead and Hemingway Design co-founder Wayne Hemingway.

Leicester Square and its nine side streets form one of the most intensely used urban spaces in London. The square also acts as a green oasis within London’s busy West End.  Despite being a major entertainment and tourist destination, the area had become disconnected from its surroundings, rundown in appearance and a place where antisocial behaviour had become a serious issue. 

The Burns + Nice design, inspired by the late 19th century form of the central garden, includes new railing and gates framed by a sinuous white ‘Ribbon’.  The gardens and ‘Ribbon’ are framed by a carpet of dark granite, the shape of which creates a legible link to the surrounding square.

Announcing her choice, Illman said: "Burns + Nice has amply demonstrated how thoughtful modern design, which is practical and robust in its concept but elegant in its detailing, can not only provide a new type of urban square, but can also demonstrate how improvements to the quality of the environment can act as a catalyst for change and regeneration.

"Leicester Square and the surrounding streets, accommodating more than 500,000 visitors daily, has long been an essential stop on any tourist map, but Burns + Nice has now created a place worthy of such attention."

The other big success story of the day was Grant Associates which walked away with four awards, two of them - Large Scale Public Development and The College of Fellows Award - for Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

Director Peter Chmiel said: "We're absolutely delighted, to win four out of five is very rewarding. It's always good to get recognition."

Chmiel said he thought one of the practice's reasons for success is a holistic design approach.

"We focus on integrated thinking and we work with like-minded professionals, we work with people who think like us, that's really important. We apply a really strong landscape story to our projects and completely immerse ourselves in a site.

"We do a lot of research and look for things that other people might miss."


The 2013 Winners:

President’s Award

Burns + Nice for Leicester Square City Quarter


Adding Value Through Landscape

Winner: Beam Parklands - a new 53 ha park for East London - by Arup with the Environment Agency and Land Trust

Highly Commended: The redevelopment and modernisation of Heworth Grange Comprehensive School in Gateshead by Capita


Communication and Presentation

Winner: Aecom’s Global Cities Programme - communicating urban visions and frameworks across landscape, urbanism, infrastructure, engineering, economics and ecosystems

Highly Commended: the presentation of Aecom’s winning design for the 2016 Rio Olympic Park


Design for a Small-scale Private Development

Winner: NEO Bankside, London - a biodiverse landscape for the luxury, high-rise housing development next to Tate Modern – by Gillespies supported by Growth Industry

Highly Commended: Embassy Gardens Marketing Suite -a landscape to tell the story of the future Linear Park for London and what it will be like to live there - by Camlins


Design for a Medium-scale Private Development 

Winner: The landscape in the first phase of the 400-home ICON development in Somerset by Grant Associates


Design for a Large-scale Private Development

Winner: Accordia – the transformation of former government offices into sustainable city living in Cambridge - by Grant Associates


Design for a Small-scale Public Development

Winner: Sammy Ofer Wing, National Maritime Museum – the creation of two water features and a 160m rill within the Greenwich World Heritage Site - by Churchman Landscape Architects Ltd

Highly Commended: The creation of a new public square for Newcastle University Student Forum by Southern Green Ltd


Design for a Medium-scale Public Development

Winner: Leicester Square City Quarter – the transformation of a previously hostile and disconnected environment into a green oasis within London’s busy West End - by Burns + Nice Ltd  

Highly Commended: Ebrington Square, Derry-Londonderry – the transformation of a former military site into a contemporary destination space - by Optimised Environments Ltd


Design for a Large-scale Public Development 

Winner: Gardens by the Bay – a landmark project in Singapore, including themed gardens, conservatories and aerial walkway - by Grant Associates

Highly Commended: The restoration of the ecosystem and landscape at Datong Wenying Lake,Datong City, China by Aecom

Highly Commended: The rehabilitation of Shek O Quarry, Hong Kong following years of industrial use by Urbis Ltd


Heritage and Conservation

Winner: Stewart Park, Middlesbrough – a project to safeguard a designed landscape in Middlesbrough - by Southern Green Ltd

Highly Commended: The restoration of Lichfield Historic Parks Project by Chris Blandford Associates

Highly Commended: The Restoration of Priory Park, Reigate by Land Use Consultants

Highly Commended: Victoria Park, London – the restoration of London’s first public park - by LDA Design


Landscape Policy and Research

Winner: Harrogate Green Infrastructure Guide by Harrogate Borough Council

Highly Commended: National Character Area Project: a new integrated framework for landscape planning by Natural England

Highly Commended: What Makes a View? A comprehensive study of Blackdown Hill AONB – by Fiona Fyfe Associates Ltd


Neighbourhood Planning

Winner: The David Livingstone Centre Landscape Masterplan – a new landscape of art, trails, play and education for South Lanarkshire Museum - by Erz

Highly Commended: Bridgecroft Housing Development, Herefordshire – the UK’s largest Passivhaus housing scheme in a rural setting - by Churchman Landscape Architects Ltd


Strategic Landscape Planning

Winner: Network Rail National Lineside Vegetation Management Strategy by LDA Design

Highly Commended: ‘The City in the Forest’ Moscow City Region Plan – a masterplan which makes use of Moscow’s close relationship with its boreal forest - by Gillespies

Highly Commended: Harlow Open Space Study and Green Infrastructure Plan by Land Use Consultants


Urban Design and Masterplanning

Winner: The Connected Croydon Programme - a £50m programme of public realm and landscape projects for Croydon - by Croydon Council

Highly Commended: Northumberland Street, Newcastle Public Realm Vision – a 10-point plan to revitalise the street - by J&L Gibbons Landscape Architects

Highly Commended: New Islington – the development of a sustainable community in one of Manchester’s worst estates - by Grant Associates

Highly Commended: Gorky Park – creating an important new park for Moscow - by LDA Design


Science, Management and Stewardship

Winner: The creation of new perimeter screening at Bayston Hill Quarry Southeastern Extension by SLR Consulting

Highly Commended: Management Plan for Black Brook Corridor – long-term strategy to safeguard the mix of habits, heritage and landscape character of the Black Brook Corridor in Merseyside - by TEP


College of Fellows Award: Climate Change Adaption

Winner: Gardens by the Bay – a landmark project in Singapore, including themed gardens, conservatories and aerial walkway - by Grant Associates


Student Dissertation

Winner: Enabling Creative Independence in Child’s Play by Jono Burgess

Highly Commended: Re-evolution of the corporate landscape: converting Luserna San Giovanni townscape with the Caffarel Chocolate Factory in Italy by Martine Sechi

Highly Commended: Urban Wilderness – the value of post-industrial landscapes in providing a new form of urban wilderness by Sophie Tombleson

Highly Commended: Temporary Landscape and the Post-Industrial City – a study of post-industrial Glasgow - by Lisa Jeffrey


Student portfolio

Winner: Zhongyi Zhang, MA Student, University of Sheffield

Highly Commended: Bethany Gale, MA Student, University of Greenwich

Highly Commended: Sophie Tombleson, MSc Student, Edinburgh College of Art

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