Farnborough Business Park is an historic site in terms of British Aviation history. The 125 acre site is being developed by SEGRO who have recognised their responsibility as guardians of the historic buildings and working closely with English Heritage have ensured that the key installations were included in the restoration plan.
This part of the project can be split into 3 key areas:
The Square – is designed to act as a focal point for the whole park and is a useable public space which is dominated by a 70ft tall restored airship hanger.
The Hub – is a mixture of new office buildings and the restoration of the historic aviation research buildings to provide offices, studio workshops, a heritage centre, café, bar and children’s nursery.
The Historic Quarter – is the commercial re use of historic buildings including five wind tunnels.
The landscaping of the project commenced with the manufacture of over 4000m3 of topsoil from the previously stripped and stored material on site. The soil was rescreened and ameliorated by adding a mixture of compost and sand which provided a useable growing medium for use in shrub beds and to grassed areas. Tree pits were backfilled in the main with metro sand.
Over 160 large semi mature trees were containerised and held at our nursery for the scheme to allow for planting throughout the year, enabling us to accommodate the main contractors programming. The use of semi mature trees is intended to create an immediate sense of maturity, providing shelter, framing views and integrating buildings into their surroundings. The planting of trees with different shapes and forms adds interest and includes fastigiated oaks and hornbeams, clear stem pines, box headed lime trees and parasol plane trees and also a feature bonsai pine. The lifting of the 60cm girth trees into the square involved the use of a 150tonne mobile crane and much co ordination with the neighbouring airfield.
The planting itself is simply designed so as to complement rather than compete with the historic surroundings, the shrub palette is minimal, bold and easy to maintain and includes groundcover roses, lavender and choisya. Evergreen hedging has been used to enclose the square and to separate car parking areas from the pedestrian zones.
The scheme was installed over a two-year period working closely with the main contractor, the value of the landscaping to date is in the region of £1m.
The landscaping has found a solution to an awkward problem for this unique heritage site and the combination of both new and historic buildings sit comfortably together in a simple yet striking mature landscape scheme.