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King’s Square, Gloucester

King’s Square was a 20th century square carved from Victorian slums within the walls of the old Roman city by renowned landscape architect Geoffrey Jellicoe. Half a century later, its popular fountains no longer worked and the large space was run down and avoided after dark.

NT was design leader for the regeneration of the square which resulted in a new, flexible event space to regenerate this important arrival area from Gloucester train and bus stations.

The square was fully pedestrianised, with controlled vehicle access for markets and event preparation, which allowed cafes and restaurants to colonise the edges.

Water was brought back in a new guise as programmable jets and lighting inspired by the city’s natural phenomenon, the Severn Bore, so that the square would be lively day and night. Wave-like structures, defining the central area, were designed by an artist to be used as visitors chose as seating, play or informal staging. Buildings were identified as a canvas for innovative lighting displays to bring year-round colour and spectacle.

The best of Jellicoe’s trees were retained to give maturity to the square, while the next generation of trees and planting were introduced to bring nature into the heart of the city and form part of a natural drainage system.