The brief for this courtyard was to create a stunning entrance to the offices of consulting engineers Conisbee, in north London, and a buffer zone for its companion residential development along the east side, to enhance the environment of both.

The office building steps back twice, to the south and west, opening up wide terraces where lush planting embraces the office by day and creates a cascade of green for residents in the evenings and at week-ends.

Natural ventilation shafts in the offices draw in cool moist air through the planting during the summer, to moderate the internal climate, while a 5-metre long “canal” at ground level enlivens the space with reflected light by day and by night.

The character of the planting reflects the varying micro-climate in each zone, with dark and dramatic tree ferns at ground level, giving way to lush and leafy evergreens at first floor level and tough drought tolerant Mediterranean planting at the top level.

One large roof area has been turned over to a brown roof, where mounded demolition rubble from the development attenuates rainwater run-off and supports a diverse range of wind- and bird-borne plants.