News: Iron water feature tops off jewel in Brixton's crown

01 September 2011

An unusual circular iron water feature provided a dramatic focus for the ceremonial reopening of Brixton's Windrush Square by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The 4.5m-wide water feature, which weighs in at about 5.5 tons and was created by Halifax-based Hargreaves Foundry, completes a £9.7m hard landscaping project to unite Brixton’s Tate Gardens, Windrush Square and St Matthews Peace Gardens – three well-loved and well-used local community landmarks. In addition to the water feature with its rainbow-catching spray of mist, the scheme included traffic improvements, the planting of more than 20 trees, better pedestrian links, lighting and surfacing, a new café and space for events and arts.

The nine-month makeover is one of 100 projects to be taken forward under the Mayor of London’s Public Spaces programme, which aims to create safe, high quality public spaces reflecting London culture.

Boris Johnson said: “Ever since the time of the ancient Greeks, public spaces have brought together communities to share, play and enjoy life. The new Windrush Square is a welcome new focal point for culture, entertainment and relaxation for the thriving and creative community in Brixton, reinforcing London’s popularity as a place to live, visits and invest in.”

Designed by Edinburgh architects Gross Max, the water feature comprises 26 separate castings made in nodular cast iron. It is surrounded by an 80sqm area which is paved in 160 nodular cast iron paving slabs, each weighing 100kgs, making the entire paved area 16 tons in weight alone.

Hargreaves Foundry brought together its specialist team in Halifax to produce the complex water feature, while the Hargreaves China production team supplied materials for the extensive paving areas.

Managed and coordinated at the Halifax workshop, each of the 160 paving slabs was cut to size according to a pattern supplied by the landscape architects and assembled perfectly on site in Brixton.

Hargreaves Foundry’s Andrew Knight said: “The pattern equipment took about two weeks to manufacture and it took about three weeks to complete the castings for the 26 segments.”

A 4.3m tree grille was also produced, made of eight separate castings, weighing 1.7 tons in total.

Windrush Square in Brixton