Oxford Castle Quarter

Hortus Conclusus
Scented medicinal gardens inspired by the medieval past to be used as a modern interpretation for wayfinding at Oxford Castle Quarter.

Celebrating the site’s rich heritage and history dating back to the 11th Century, the proposals will celebrate the past through the creation of a series of landscape interventions referencing the historic spaces which existed on the site over time. Aimed at increasing visitor numbers and duration of stay within the Castle Quarter, the public realm is a key component for the landscape enhancements as part of the Client’s asset improvement works.

A warm friendly palette of materials is proposed to complement the heritage setting, with a central feature totem to act as a focal point within the main castle yard. This also allowed catenary lighting to be proposed across the large square to create a unique setting at night and provide a more human scale to the space.
The planting design concept is inspired by the historical use of the castle grounds and yards, as ‘herbers’ (the medieval word for gardens). Herbers were set out within the castle grounds and used for medicinal plants or flowers, to increase wellbeing and utilising their scent to dry clothes upon.
The public realm is further animated with active F&B edges to create a new characterful historic quarter and leisure experience. In addition to hard and soft landscape enhancements, new signage, lighting and sculpture will play a key role in improving legibility, strength of brand identity and connectivity within Oxford city centre.

Oxford Castle Quarter


Landsec & The Crown Estate


2 Hectares


Concept to Detailed Design, Planning Approved


Planning consultant: Turley
Project Manager: Workman
Structural Engineer: Jubb
Signage: Rawls
Lighting: BDP