Queens Walk

Barton Willmore was commissioned to produce design proposals for an existing courtyard space as part of wider refurbishment works to Yell House, Reading.

The courtyard will provide amenity space both for the occupants of Yell House and the adjacent Penta Hotel as well as an inviting square for the public. In terms of its private role, it is an urban space functioning both as the pedestrian approach to the new student accommodation and also as an external space for eating and drinking for hotel residents and the public. Its public role is in its response to its position, close to Broad Street and Oxford Road.

The landscape design incorporates a dramatic mix of both hard and soft landscape treatments to enhance the public environment for students, hotel residents and visitors. The objective is to generate an exciting, vibrant and memorable outdoor space.

The design responses to these opportunities are through the proposal of a bold paving scheme using high-quality materials that defines access routes as well as creating spaces in which to relax. A dedicated al fresco dining zone is created, softened by new planting.   


New trees and shrub planting forms an important feature of the design to provide shade, screening and seasonal interest. New planting is provided within raised planters to allow suitable rooting volumes, whilst not compromising the structural loading of the existing deck to the car park below.

The proposed landscape layout weaves a narrative through the hard and soft material palette, to create a bright, open and welcoming space. Modern materials finishes will provide an inviting and highly attractive environment in which to relax, to eat and drink, and to sit, to meet and wait, and to enjoy.

Our team has been involved with the project from initial concept design, through planning to production of tender information, with construction onsite due to start Summer 2016. Our design role has also been retained by the client for onsite monitoring and review of delivered materials.