Interlocking, Network Rail National Centre, Milton Keynes [2009-11]

Landscaping scheme design with Capita Lovejoy and David Patten 2009. Detailed design and implementation with Quartet Design and GMW architects 2010-11.

structures seat and vignette

The 'Interlocking' system at Network Rail ensures the safety, reliability and efficiency of rail and rail travel. It also became a way of thinking to overlap public and private spaces, to enrich landscape compositions right down to the finer details and provide practical functions with a sense of place.

We began to work playfully with interconnecting ideas of location, distance, connection, direction and time, always mindfully infused with the identity of Milton Keynes and the sensibilities of its development.

A network of paved threads (eminating from Network Rail stations) arrive, depart and converge at this central location. Seating and planting structures are programmed to the threads, overlapping in sequences with varying distances. A simple relationship of an angle of superelevation used in rail engineering and an embanked cut, was applied to a cube to create a whole dictionary of dynamic forms. The cube was also cut vertically to the same angle of the new building.

Structures are lit on one side, illuminating their forms and to give a sense of direction and movement to and from the building. The embedded threads pulse every quarter hour as a way of the landscape itself keeping 'external time' for all users of the plaza.

In addition to this twenty vignettes were placed in the threads to intrigue the site user to stop, relax and ponder the notions of distance and time in relation to the trees and parks of Milton Keynes. However their intention is that they don't give up their secrets instantly, rather they reveal their meanings over repeated or daily visits.

Click on the link below to view the accompanying publication and for further information: QuadrantNRMKpublication150.pdf

Lighting composition and Programming


Casting seating structures (Stirling Services Ltd):


Vignette design example:

vignette design >