It will be at least 3 years before trains run and sometime yet before shops and restaurants are open but the roof garden at at Crossrail Place has been open to the public for a few months. Unlike the Sky Garden in the Walkie Talkie Building you do not need to book. It offers a wide range of photographic opportunity and regular events.
Crossrail Place Roof Construction
The canopy is made from wood and a kind of anti-corrosive, air filled, plastic that looks like a quilt. It is reminiscent of something from the set of a science fiction movie. It is not completely covered and there are large areas open to the sky. This allows it to have an airy, outside feeling. Strangely, there were no birds in the place when I visited last weekend, I’m not sure if this is by design. Despite recent planting, the beds looked very lush and mature.
The building should connect east and west London, providing a leisure area for both the residents of poplar and the employees of Canary Wharf.
The planting is designed to mirror the areas that ships would come in from before the docks, which the building replaces, closed in the 1980s. It is split into geographical areas each with a signpost describing the planting. The paths wind through the building which is over 1,000 feet long so it is possible to choose your own route and maybe do a couple of circuits and admiring the view from one of the benches. There is also a piano available for the public to play, in its own seated auditorium. I was treated to some lovely music while I wandered around with a camera.
Another photographer sidled up to me at one points and said “Isn’t this an image rich environment?” and we chatted for a while about what the photographic opportunities both inside and outside the building.
The interior architecture offers lots of options for regular patterns compared with the natural shapes of the plants. There are also views across London through the open portals but also shaded through the plastic quilting. I found it peaceful and more inviting than the Sky Garden. I suspect it will become busier when commercial outlets are fully open.