Stockley Park: Business park Phases I and II, and country park and golf course

Overview

Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1466074
Date first listed:
18-Aug-2020
Location Description:
to the east and west of Stockley Road, Uxbridge, Hillingdon

Map

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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
to the east and west of Stockley Road, Uxbridge, Hillingdon
County:
Greater London Authority
District:
Hillingdon (London Borough)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ0791680469

Summary

A pioneering suburban business park, established to a master plan of 1984 by Arup Associates and mainly developed from 1985 to 1993 with landscape architects Bernard Ede and Charles Funke. The golf course and public park was developed from 1984 to 1992 by Arup Associates with Marshall Victor of Robert Trent-Jones Senior, a Florida-based specialist ‘golf architect’. Work on the first phase of 36ha began in April 1985; the first buildings opened in 1986 and the site was opened by the Prince of Wales in June that year. The main elements of the landscaping of the later phases were completed by 1993. Phase II is of 9.92 ha, and was added between 1990 and 1998.

Reasons for Designation

Stockley Park, including the business park Phase I and II, golf course and public park, Hillingdon, Greater London is registered at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* first established in the mid-1980s, it was a pioneering design from the early phase of business park development in England;

* a skilled reuse of highly contaminated land.

Design interest:

* an important collaboration between several prominent late-C20 designers, engineers and landscape architects to create a business park in which design quality was a paramount selling feature;

* an award-winning design which continues to be held in high regard;

* the overall site has a fully integrated design with the cellular business park contrasting well with the naturalistic and geometric forms of golf course and public park.

Survival:

* carefully established and consistent design parameters have made for a unified and consistent landscape and, despite the redevelopment of some buildings and modifications to their immediate landscape context, overall the original design is well-preserved and maintained.

History

The site of Stockley Park was historically Dawley Park, a house and landscape created by Lord Ossulston for which an engraving by Kip of 1707 survives, but only a fragment of wall on its eastern boundary survived its transformation into a farm, brick pit and gravel workings. The new name comes from C19 brickworks on the south side of the Grand Union Canal. From about 1912, the gravel workings on the actual site to the north of the canal were infilled by tipping, for which the canal gave easy access for waste from London. This site passed to the London Borough of Hillingdon after 1965, whose attempts at restoration were frustrated by overgrazing by horses. In the Central Hillingdon Local Plan the borough identified the potential value of open land amid its semi-suburban settlements, envisaging linking the little towns by ‘environmental corridors’ containing footpaths and bridleways. When tipping stopped in 1984 the site was topped with London clay.

By this time developers were becoming interested in the site because of its proximity to Heathrow Airport and the growth of office building nearby. The first to establish an interest, in 1981, was Peter Jones, who approached the borough with a scheme for a golf course, public park and science park. Michael Aukett Associates provided feasibility studies and an initial plan, but after a dispute with Jones declined to compete for the job of designing the scheme. LB Hillingdon and Jones’s company, Trust Securities Holdings PLC, financed by USS pension fund and advised by RIBA president Owen Luder, held a limited competition between 27 practices, subsequently shortlisted to six who made detailed submissions, from which it appointed Duffy Eley Giffone Worthington (DEGW) in 1983. The northern part of the site was identified for a golf course, with a new north-south road through the site – the Yiewsley by-pass, now Stockley Road, completed in 1988. The main part of the business park was on the south-east part of the site, with buildings arranged broadly symmetrically around a ‘U’-shaped road backing on to the Grand Union Canal. A smaller group of office buildings was planned to the west of Stockley Road, again adjoining the canal. Research by DEGW led by John Worthington established that the area particularly suited international technology companies who wanted flexible buildings that combined offices, research and product assembly in one unit.

Trust Securities ran into financial trouble and in January 1984 were taken over by Stuart Lipton of Stanhope Securities, who created a new company, Stockley PLC, to develop the site. Lipton had made his reputation as the person behind Greycoats’ innovative building programme in the City, and was just beginning to develop Broadgate with Peter Foggo of Arup Associates, whom he was also employing for a scheme at Victoria. Another development firm, Mountleigh, gained control of Stockley Park for 17 months in 1987 but Lipton organised a consortium to buy the project back in 1988. His management company retained the freeholds. Lipton remained a consultant into the 2000s, though Stanhope’s share passed to the Japanese company Kajima in 1995.

On the advice of the Dutch company Grontmij, Stanhope Securities did not compact the existing fill as is usually the case, but instead removed the refuse (save from some areas of car parking) and reshaped the underlying gravel in thin layers that were compacted and rolled. In April 1984 Arup Associates were confirmed as the architects, invited to produce most of the buildings as well as the master plan. The use of a multi-disciplinary practice was key to solving such a complex problem in a very short timescale. An outline planning application was approved in November, with additional funding from the Universities Superannuation Scheme, while Arup Associates produced a master plan from 1984 to 1985. It established a loop of roads around a string of settling lakes, with to the north a central amenities building and beyond it an eighteen-hole golf course crossed by public paths.

About five million tonnes of refuse and 1.5 million tonnes of clay and gravel were shifted between 1985 and 1986, creating a landscape of hills and swales for the golf course on the northern part of Stockley Park. A complex system of clay buffers and drainage pipes diverted polluted groundwater from the site so that it can be properly treated, and methane produced on the site is collected and burned off. Gravel from the golf course was used to fill holes in the business park. The Dutch firm Grontmij used the poorest of the capping material mixed with landfill to create a 750mm transition layer, which was topped with the better clay capping mixed with sludge cake to give a more fertile layer of 600mm. The result was a carefully constructed zone three metres deep through which methane passively vents over the whole area at a steadily diminishing rate, allowing a greater depth of oxygenation below the depth of future root penetration. More earthworms were introduced in 2018 to break up the compacted soil. Underneath, Ove Arup & Partners created a complex draining network that controls the contaminated leachate from the landfill, including an underground wall on the north side of the site. When work began in April 1985 it was the largest single civil engineering contract involving landfill transfer in Europe.

Within the business park to the south, DEGW had established the need for buildings that combined facilities for research, product assembly, marketing and consumer services under one roof, mainly for computer and high-tech industries. LB Hillingdon approved, discouraging large-scale office use because it worried at the amount of commuter traffic, though there are now regular bus services. Arup Associates studied business parks in the United States, then produced a crisp, standard design for buildings that were flexible for this mixed office and laboratory use (differing only from normal office suites in having a rather higher ground floor), with a few sites given over to more elaborate bespoke structures, including signature buildings by Norman Foster, Troughton McAslan, Ian Ritchie and Geoffrey Darke that provide a contrast. The park attracted many Japanese and American companies, originally including Toshiba, Fujitsu, Apple Computers and Dow Chemicals. Prince Charles opened the first buildings by Arup Associates, those nearest the site of the future amenities building, in June 1986 and the first phase was largely completed in 1989 to 1990. This included The Arena, containing shops, a public house and a gym, with the golf club house, built in 1987 to 1988, served by an area of car parking.

The main elements of the landscaping of the later phases, including the ponds and lakes, were completed by 1993.

Arup Associates added The Square to the east as Phase II between 1990 and 1998. It comprises five larger purely office buildings arranged symmetrically around a central rectangular strip, the first completed in 1993. It continues the landscaping principles of the Phase I.

Space for a third phase was reserved to the west and a line of settling ponds were laid out along Iron Bridge Road in 1992. The rest of the third phase was planned in 2000 and begun in 2009, planned by Arup Associates as a group of offices and amenity buildings surrounded by landscaping; the planning and landscaping is rather different from that of the earlier phases.

The design of Stockley Park was recognised in 1989 with the Civic Trust Award, and in 1996 with the Landscape Institute Award for Design.

The landscape architects were Bernard Ede and Charles Funke. Bernard Ede, based in Shaftesbury and Warminster, also worked with Arup Associates at their campus in Solihull from 1999 to 2001, on the Greenwich Peninsula from 1997 to 2000 and with Bennetts Associates (ex-Arup staff) at Wessex Water in 2000. Charles Funke (born 1929) worked for planting company Craigwell House Nurseries and Flower House International before forming his own practice in the mid-1970s. He worked with Arup Associates (led by Peter Foggo) and James Russell in 1974 to 1976 on Gateway (now Mountbatten) House at Basingstoke, where the building is listed and the rooftop garden is registered (both Grade II). In Landscape (summer 2015) he explained how he understood the microclimates of poor soils, such as in roof terraces or landfill sites. He went on to specialise in roof gardens and small office landscapes in the City of London, and also worked extensively with Norman Foster and on Tate Modern. He retired in 2015.

Details

A pioneering suburban business park, established to a master plan of 1984 by Arup Associates and mainly developed from 1985 to 1993 with landscape architects Bernard Ede and Charles Funke. The golf course and public park was developed from 1984 to 1992 by Arup Associates with Marshall Victor of Robert Trent-Jones Senior, a Florida-based specialist ‘golf architect’. Work on the first phase of 36ha began in April 1985; the first buildings opened in 1986 and the site was opened by the Prince of Wales in June that year. The main elements of the landscaping of the later phases were completed by 1993. Phase II is of 9.92 ha, and was added between 1990 and 1998.

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

The site is part of the London green belt, flat land lying between West Drayton and Hayes on the boundary of Greater London due north of Harlington and Heathrow Airport. Immediately to the south of the business park is the Grand Union Canal. To the north is the Stockley Park Golf Course and public park which was integral to the development of the business centre. The dual carriageway of Stockley Road, which serves the M4 motorway between it and Heathrow was created between 1985 and 1988 and divides the site into two unequal halves.

The total site of the original tip was 131.5ha, of which 37.26ha was the original business park, extended by 9.67ha to the east. An additional 9.92ha added to the east with a higher plot ratio of offices makes 56.85ha in 2019. 6ha were identified as public open space in 1984. The rest became a 98ha, 6,750 yard, 72-par championship municipal golf course, with parkland area, playing fields and horse-riding facilities.

VIEWS

There are no views out of the business park, which is turned inwards to limit the effect of the new by-pass, Stockley Road. Views within the business park are concentrated round the lakes as growing planting obscures the buildings from many of the roads. There are limited views of the buildings from the golf club to the north. The golf course has an undulating landscape and includes high points which have expansive views out to the surrounding landscape, there is also a bridge which connects the east and west side of the golf course which has expansive views to the north and south.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The main business park is entered off a roundabout from Stockley Road (A408 between Heathrow and Uxbridge), leading to Bennetsfield Road and this is the main access route. The smaller part to the west is entered via Horton Road and a secondary roundabout down Iron Bridge Road. The golf course and public park has an access road off Colham Roundabout which leads to a car park; the park is also entered via various footpaths and bridleways including a pedestrian entrance at the junction of Gould’s Green and Harlington Road and from a car park near Chestnut Avenue.

BUILDINGS

At the northern point of the site is The Arena, a bastion-like building containing a gym, public house (not currently in use), bank and shops set around a circle behind the largely blind façade to the water. It was built by Arup Associates in buff concrete blockwork from 1988 to 1989, with the involvement of leading designers David Thomas and Peter Foggo. On the north side of The Arena building, a hotel is currently under construction on site after obtaining planning permission in January 2018. To the north is the golf club house in similar blockwork, 1992. In all, Arup Associates designed 13 buildings in Phase I of Stockley Park, including the golf club house.

The office buildings within Phase I are contemporary with the landscape, though a few are starting to be remodelled. In the first phase, 1,500,000 square ft of business space was built on the 36 acres with 4,500 car parking spaces. Arup Associates (job architects Michael Lowe and Richard Noble of Group 3) designed a standard two-storey pavilion (the so-called B1, like its use-class order) with classic proportions to a common grid and crisp detailing, each providing twin units that could be subdivided in several ways off a central service spine. The 18m depth allowed good levels of natural light and awareness of the surroundings, and a high level of servicing met the stringent requirements for computers in the 1980s. The buildings were constructed on steel frames with prefabricated cladding and pitched roofs to hide mechanical plant; even the building services were assembled in a module off site, tested and craned into position. The management of the contracts was also designed for speed: Arup Associates had pioneered the involvement of contractors in the design process at its Horizon Factory, Nottingham, from 1969 to 1972, but at Stockley Park the developers also took an active involvement in the contracts. The shell and service core of a building was erected in 26 weeks for £480/m2, compared with £540 for 590/m2 for conventional buildings in the area. 2 Roundwood Avenue was a larger variant for the American toymakers Hasbro, designed by Arup Associates and built from 1987 to 1988. 4 Roundwood Avenue was remodelled by ESA from 2016 to 2018, the most significant building alteration on the site. Other buildings were created at the south of the site by private architects, but repeating many of the ingredients established by Arup Associates. These are by Ian Ritchie and Foster Associates, 4 and 5 Longwall Road (notable for its ‘Y’-framed structure), respectively built from 1988 to 1990 and 1987 to 1989; Geoffrey Darke Associates at 1 Furzebrook Way, 1988 to 1989, stone clad; and Troughton McAslan at 2 and 4 Furzebrook Way, built from 1988 to 1991 (built for Apple, in two phases with a curved roof). The three buildings west of Stockley Road were designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) to a similar pattern to Arup Associates’ blocks.

Phase II, The Square, lying to the east of Furzebrook Way, contains six larger and more individual buildings by Arup Associates (notably 2, 3, 4 and 8 The Square from 1996 to 1999), with James Burford as senior architect, using a variety of styles and shapes around a central square or round core, all with distinctive double skins for energy efficiency. Eric Parry designed 1 The Square using the old long atrium plan from 1990 to 1991.

SCULPTURE

There are several sculptures located within the business park.

At the junction of Longwalk Road and Furzeground Way near Lots Lake, is Osirisisis, sculpted white Diorite marble from Egypt; Stephen Cox was commissioned in 1990 by the Stockley Park Consortium, and the sculpture was unveiled in September 1991.

Outside 1 Furzeground Way is Lot's Wife, a stone sculpture; the date and designer is unknown.

Outside 3 Roundwood Avenue is In the Garden II, sculpted from Bath stone in 1983 by Peter Randall-Page.

Outside the GlaxoSmithKline building on Iron Bridge Road is a large unidentified figure holding a sword; the date and designer of this sculpture is unknown.

BUSINESS PARK

The removal of the spoil left a bare site stripped to its subsoil for the business park. All the landscaping is new, therefore, and Philip Dowson, one of the founding partners of Arup Associates, took his colleagues to study French classical landscaping with its emphasis on clipped hedges or chamilles, a nod to the landscape at Dawley Park as illustrated in 1707. The remaining gravel was rolled and landscaped.

The first and principal phase has a structure comprising two green valleys – one broad and one narrow – each containing a necklace of lakes. They run from a large catchment lake to the north to a slightly smaller sheet of water (Lots Lake) at the southern end of the site alongside the Grand Union Canal. The resulting rectangle defines the core of the business park. Gravel from the eastern part of the site and the golf course area was used to line the lakes as well as to create level building plots for the buildings. Small waterfalls denote changes in level between the lakes and to provide movement, with standardised wooden boardwalks and bridges providing access, while the water course and surrounding banks are extensively planted, mainly with shrubs but with some predominately yellow flowers in and around the water. Around this the main road forms a loop, with prime views facing the landscape and car parking to the rear. The main road to the west is Longwalk Road, leading to Furzeground Way to the south, and Roundwood Avenue to the east, where there is car parking on both sides and single-aspect offices to the east. The largest offices are on the south side of this loop. The roads are formed of brick paviours. The loops of lake, roads and footpaths (see below) contrast with the rectilinear buildings and car parking.

More formal landscape elements and axial devices are used around and between buildings and to create courts screened by hornbeam hedges to conceal car parking (all at grade) in large garden rooms overladen by canopies of whitebeam trees in the centre of the larger parking areas. More hornbeam line the entrances to each building plot. Yew hedges conceal service areas, with flowers confined to areas in and around the water, and the tenants’ own planting around the larger buildings. Avenues of paired clipped lime trees line pedestrian routes through the site, with clumps of plane trees to provide a focus at the south of Roundwood Avenue. Lower shrubs such as cotoneaster and juniper line the paths. Thick screens of native trees screen the Yiewsley by-pass and the Grand Union Canal. The designers made extensive use of planting mature trees after the garden festivals, which saw cultural regeneration of large areas of derelict land in Britain's industrial districts during the 1980s and early 1990s, had pioneered new methods.

The largest catchment lake is to the north of the site, which serves The Arena. The eastern side of The Arena, containing the gym, is set into a bank, cut into with turf steps in the manner utilised by Alvar Aalto at Säynätsalo Town Hall, Finland between 1949 and 1952. A path to the side rises to the golf course. To the west the car parking is set around a sunken arena that provides the road entrance to the shops and gym. Public footpaths extend from the golf course through The Arena to the business park and the canal.

At the east end of the business park is Phase II which was laid out between 1990 and 1993 as The Square, in fact a loop of road around a long, rectangular central area that includes a café and street food outlets. Only one building was erected at that time (1 The Square), but the basic planting of laurel and hornbeam bushes and lines of lime trees was established, repeating the form of Phase I, with car parking behind hedges to the rear and screens of trees as a boundary to the site. The rest of the buildings had been laid out by 1998.

To the west of Stockley Road is a smaller part of Phase I. The layout of the three office buildings by SOM repeats the same planting pattern around walkways and car parks as the eastern Phase I Business Park. This site is wholly fenced off from the public and the surrounding roads are planted with limes and red oaks.

PUBLIC PARK AND GOLF COURSE

The public park and golf course, created between 1985 and 1992, have a dome-like form rising from the canal to 60m which appears as an existing feature bisected by the major road; the east and west sides are linked by a bridge. It comprises 104ha of man-made hills, laid out as a 6,750 yard, 72 par championship eighteen-hole municipal golf course, with a parkland area, playing fields and horse-riding facilities. The landscape architect was Ede Griffiths Partnership, project architect David Coomes. The project manager for Stanhope Construction was John Cottingham, and the golf course consultant Robert Trent-Jones Senior. The rubbish from the business park site was moved and shaped into a series of mounds, while gravel from the golf course was used to fill holes in the business park.

There are public footpaths and nearly 7,000m of bridleway, and 58 bunkers. There are also several ponds and lakes located across the park, most acting as features within the golf course. The trees are far more informal than in the business park, with alders, poplar, willow, oak and ash. The west side of the park is bounded on all sides by a band of trees. The larger eastern side is bounded by a band of trees to the west, north and east, with the business park to the south.

The golf course is principally laid out over the larger east side of the park, with further holes at the southern end of the west side. In the northern part of the west side is the rest of the public park which consists of a series of largely open spaces bordered by bands of trees and linked by footpaths. Near to the Colham roundabout entrance is a circular area of trees from which footpaths radiate, including some curving tree-lined paths.

Sources

Books and journals
Blanc, Alan, McEvoy, Michael, Plant, Roger, Architecture and Construction in Steel, (1993), 164-165
Lyall, Sutherland, Designing the New Landscape, (1991), 124-127
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: London 3 North West, (1991), 351-353
Powell, Kenneth, Arup Associates, (2018), 81-87
'Stockley Park' in Arup Journal, , Vol. 51 no2, (Summer 2016), 44
'Tip top tee time' in Building, , Vol. 256 no7712, (13 September 1991), 48-51
'The office as temple' in Blueprint, , Vol. 87, (8 May 1992), 21-22
'Stockley Park' in Formes et Structure, , Vol. 3, (1993), 51-53
'Landscape Institute Award' in Landscape Design, , Vol. 246, (December 1995-January 1996), 19-23
'untitled' in Arup Journal, , Vol. 33 no3, (Autumn 1998), 3-8
'DEGW approach rewarded' in Architects Journal, , Vol. 177, no 26, (29 June 1983), 25
'Lipton in new moves at Stockley Park' in Architects Journal, , Vol. 179, no.10, (7 March 1984), 39
'Arup replace DEWG at Stockley' in Architects Journal, , Vol. 179 no 15, (11 April 1984), 37
'Stockley Park Under Way' in Building, , Vol. 247 no 7371, (30 November 1984), 8
'Stockley Park' in Arup Journal, , Vol. 22 no 1, (Spring 1987), 4-7
'Hasbro Inc, Stockley Park' in Arup Journal, , Vol. 24 no 2, (Summer 1989), 22-23
'Second flush at Stockley Park' in Building, , Vol. 254 no7609, (4 August 1989), 38-42
Davey, P, 'Stockley Park' in Architectural Review, , Vol. 186 no1111, (September 1989, ), 42-48
'The Stockley Park Project' in Landscape Design, , Vol. 182, (February 1990), 42-47
'Business parks: new directions' in Arup Journal, , Vol. 25 no3, (Autumn 1990), 9-12
'Tip For The Top' in Building, , Vol. 250 no 7448, (6 June 1986), 42-44
Websites
Stockley Historic Brochure, accessed 5 June 2020 from https://www.stockleypark.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Stockley-Historic-Brochure_Print-Reference.pdf

Legal

This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

End of official listing

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