Visions, Strategies & Masterplans
Projects by service
THE TRANSFORMATION OF HANOVER SQUAREReimagining one of the West End’s most significant civic spaces
2015 – current
WCC and GHS Limited Partnership
Norman Rourke Pryme, Dr Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, WSP-PB, Withernay Projects, KLH Sustainability
City of Westminster, London
The transformation of Hanover Square is underway. Soon this historic square will become a celebrated gateway into London’s West End.
The imminent arrival of the Elizabeth line Crossrail in late 2018 has catalysed a series of new developments at Hanover Square. Soon, the eastern ticket hall of the new Elizabeth line Bond Street Station will open onto the square, dramatically increasing the number of people moving through the space and its surrounding streets each day.
Building on aspirations identified by Crossrail, Publica initiated a long process of meetings with local stakeholders to discuss the shared benefits of revitalising this extraordinary civic space within the heart of the city. With the support of GHS Limited Partnership, our team conducted an in-depth survey and produced a vision and concept design of Hanover Square as an exciting new entrance into the West End and a revived garden oasis for residents, workers and visitors.
Our design for Hanover Square provides a revived setting for the area’s buildings, monuments and new public art pieces. It celebrates the square’s intrinsic character by revealing historic vistas and celebrating its civic identity. By increasing pedestrian space, improving crossings, planting new trees and improving cycle infrastructure, paving, street furniture lighting and signage, the design elevates the experience of being in the square and moving through its adjoining streets.
Westminster City Council (WCC) adopted the concept design in 2016 and convened a project board made up of WCC, GPE, TfL, Crossrail, the Crown Estate, Clivedale/Indiabulls, Fenwick, NWEC, Historic England, along with other neighbouring landowners and developers. Publica is currently consulting on the detailed design and construction delivery phases of the project.
A Civic History
One of the first open spaces laid out in London’s West End during the Georgian period, the distinct urban composition of Hanover Square greatly influenced the development of the Great Estates. Originally built as a private residential square, by the 19th century it had evolved alongside the rest of the West End into a thriving commercial district. When Hanover Square was opened to the public in 1878, it became one of the most popular and well-known destinations in the city.
Recent years saw the prominence of Hanover Square fade as it became congested with traffic and overshadowed by the West End’s major retail thoroughfares. Much of the original character and quality of the square and its strong visual and spatial connections to the wider neighbourhood had been obscured or forgotten.
Restoration and redesign for the 21st Century
Publica led a series of design workshops with WCC and TfL and a team of specialist traffic engineers, access and sustainability consultants and landscape architects to refine the concept design and ensure its integration with the new station and with existing traffic across the square.
The transformation of Hanover Square demonstrates how private and public sector bodies can come together to provide a step change in the quality of public realm provision in the West End. It forms part of a greater effort to ensure the city’s historic places remain relevant, attractive and useful.