Bath landscape architecture on a mission to rejuvenate the ‘Hanging Gardens of Basingstoke’

January 12, 2023

A 1970s office building regarded as one of the 15 most important developments of its kind in the UK, is to be given a new lease of life by Bath-based landscape architecture practice Grant Associates.

Grade II listed Mountbatten House in Basingstoke was commissioned in 1973 and has since become an icon of the Hampshire town. 

The landscape and garden terraces – affectionately known locally as ‘the Hanging Gardens of Basingstoke’ – were recognised as significant by the award of a separate Grade II status for the entire site by English Heritage in 2015

Now Mountbatten House developer Longstock Capital has called in Grant Associates to help restore it to its former glory and provide modern office space in an extensive refurbishment of the property and its terraced gardens, pictured right and below.

Grant Associates, best known as lead designers of Singapore’s world-recognised Gardens by the Bay and the Superbloom experience at Tower of London, will lead on the full renewal of the historic gardens.

Its landscape proposals will enable increased usage and access to the garden spaces, enhancing the richness and areas of current planting by building on the original layouts and principles while also promoting urban biodiversity.

The comprehensive renewal will improve year-round access around the gardens and provide seasonal interest and interaction between the inside and outside spaces of the building.

Rainwater harvesting will irrigate the garden areas and a wealth of sustainable features will be delivered via the scheme. 

An application to place photovoltaic on the roof has been submitted to ensure the building meets modern sustainability standards. The move could generate annual carbon savings of 50 tonnes. 

The building’s glazing is also set to be replaced, leading to a significant reduction the energy consumption, while 77 electric car parking spaces and charging stations will be installed. 

Grant Associates director Keith French said: “This project is a heritage-led redevelopment scheme, involving the updating, repair and reuse of the listed building and the gardens.

“The proposals set out the redevelopment of a high-quality and sensitive landscape scheme that fully reflects the original vision and sensitive context and provides a new 21st century landscape layer for its future users which respond to contemporary issues of office workers and visitors.”

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council deputy leader John Izett added: “It is fantastic news that one of Basingstoke’s most recognisable buildings is to be reborn.

“The deal agreed means substantial new investment into creating 21st-century offices that will be just what today’s businesses are looking for. 

“In time it will bring jobs, and business rates for the council to direct towards services for our residents. The council’s willingness to sell a new lease allows the long leaseholder to fund the extensive improvement works in the building.” 

Mountbatten House, originally called Gateway House, was commissioned by paper manufacturer Wiggins Teape as its new headquarters building when it relocated to Basingstoke from central London.

The original architects were Peter Foggo’s Group 2 at Arup Associates with eminent garden designer James Russell advising.

Grant Associates’ involvement in the Mountbatten House project comes hot on the heels of it being chosen to work on the landscape and urban realm design for the BBC’s new base in Birmingham, pictured above.

The scheme will help create a new canalside quarter based in and around the historic Typhoo Building in Digbeth, a former industrial area close to the city centre being redeveloped as Birmingham’s creative quarter.


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