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Kings Square | Gloucester

Riding the wave in Gloucester

Our affinity with place is well documented and community ownership of city space is key to its success, especially when a major redesign is envisaged.  At King’s Square in Gloucester, renowned landscape architect Geoffrey Jellicoe had carved a square into the Victorian slums that ran through the White Friars district of the old Roman city, but by the 1990's the once popular fountains were no longer working and the square was tired, down at heel and shunned after nightfall.

NT was design leader for the regeneration of the square, with our scheme founded on six months of community consultation, which resulted in a new, flexible event space to regenerate this important city centre hub.

Taking out all the vehicles from the space immediately allowed the pedestrian desire lines to function uninterrupted, and new venues for markets and events evolved, with plenty of space for cafes and restaurants to colonise their outside domains.

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 broad central space were designed by an artist to be used flexibly, as visitors chose, as seating, play or informal staging. Buildings were identified as a canvas for innovative lighting displays to bring year-round animation and spectacle.  The rejuvenation of the square worked as a catalyst for the renovation of one of the adjoining buildings to provide workspace for independent creative industries, bringing new life and new activity to the square. 

The best of Jellicoe’s trees were retained to anchor and give maturity to the square.  The new generation of trees and planting brought nature, biodiversity and seasonally changing colour into the heart of the city, with an integrated natural drainage system constructed around the planting root zones.

Key features

  • Intense public consultation process proceeding successful planning consent

  • NT scheme design approved after many years of local disagreement on strategy

  • New city space for community use, performance and more

  • Water features to evoke Severn bore

  • High quality paving and finishes delineate use

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