The Tree House, Elephant Park

The Tree House, Elephant Park

Elephant Park is a community-focused green space in the heart of London’s Elephant and Castle. This vibrant area, located in the borough of Southwark, is a popular place to live, socialise and work. The park itself is a haven for families and friends to have fun, relax and enjoy the many facilities within the grounds.

A new single-story The Tree House has recently been built at the edge of the park. Playing host to a refreshment kiosk, a community space, toilets and a terrace overlooking the park, it provides even more opportunities to enjoy the area. The Pavilion has been designed in a triangular shape, comprising three volumes joined together by a large roof terrace.

The Tree House, Elephant Park

The Tree House has been created as part of a wider regeneration scheme of the park and the surrounding areas. This is through a partnership between construction specialists Lendlease and Southwark Council with a focus on a £2.3 billion regeneration programme across the area. Their goal is to continue making Elephant and Castle one of London’s most attractive places to reside and visit.

Designed by Bell Phillis Architects, the Tree House creates a seamless flow between the park and the structure. The intention is to contribute to the experience of the green space without interrupting it; blending together inside and outside, enclosure and exposure. Sustainability is at the heart of the building, while the colour scheme and formation ensuring the Tree House is a natural fit within the park.

Illumination of the Tree House has been key to achieving these goals, as well as ensuring the space offers a welcoming ambience. Expert lighting designers Speirs Major were appointed to create a lighting scheme that delivered this. The lighting gently highlights the structure, showcasing it as a local landmark for those using the Park. And, after dark, the lighting design ensures that the Tree House is lit to blend harmoniously with the park and the surrounding streets.

It was also incredibly important that the lighting contributed to the sustainability credentials of the new Pavilion. The lighting design ensures that the lit appearance of the building does not negatively impact on the ecological needs of the park. Speirs Major has carefully considered light spill into the night sky to reduce the risk to wildlife such as nesting birds. To achieve this, the majority of the lighting equipment is aimed down to avoid unnecessary light spill.

As part of their expert design, Speirs Major chose to partner with LUMINO. The V20S Optic from LUMINO has been surface-mounted to illuminate the roof’s timber volume and pebbles. It is within the rooted channel in the system’s timer. The same solution, V20S Optic, is also integrated into the Pavilion’s balustrade to light the roof deck.  


Speirs Major have used lighting effectively to create a social space for people to spend periods of time. This includes illumination to benches and the general space, ensuring there are positive environments for people to gather and relax in.

Furthermore, energy usage has been kept to a minimum through balancing light levels to match the use of the Pavilion. The lighting design also supports inclusivity, ensuring ease of access to the Tree House for all including those with disabilities, in particular, those with visual impairments.

Landscape specialists Gillespies also played a key role in the project.


Chris Small from LUMINO said: “It is always wonderful to work on regeneration projects as it is so rewarding to see an area reach its potential. And, as a company, we enjoy working with Speirs Major as their lighting designs are forward-thinking and carefully created for each individual project.


“LUMINO is proud to play a role in this key community facility that will offer joy to so many people.”


The Tree House was officially opened with a celebratory community event that played host to a range of free activities. From yoga to live music, the official ribbon cutting and art workshops, the Tree House has already contributed to the long-term vision of the Elephant and Castle area.