More a manifesto than a plan: the grounds of the Millennium Dome

The French landscape architects Desvigne & Dalnoky make use of a simi­lar method in their concept for the Greenwich Peninsula Park. They con­sider the permanence and the transformability of the landscape to be solid principles from which to react to the imponderability of the urban devel­opment. In this way, the concept for the London park seems more a mani­festo than a classic design plan (Arnold 1998).

According to the project requirements, the planning for the outside spaces was to operate along two time lines: in the short-term, for the open spaces associated with the millennium celebrations and in the long-term, for the development of a new part of the city. A landscape was planned around the Millennium Dome that would develop in phases. As an initial spark, generous poplar plantings were specified, overlaid with a grid of in­dividual trees spaced 3.5 m apart. The grid is to be thinned step by step to a spacing of 7×7 m2 until eventually the planting consists only of groups of trees. Desvigne & Dalnoky describe a "strategy of invasion", as they struc­ture the entire area around the Dome with young, fast-growing poplars planted close together. In a manner analogous to the processes of natural succession, the landscape architects combine pioneer species with climax species. At the beginning of the process, the plentiful pioneer plants will dominate the park; in the following phases, the climax species with their powerful form will determine the vision. Out of a dense, forest-like plant­ing, an interesting landscape organized around clearings and paths will gradually emerge.