The Dalston Eastern Curve garden

Winner of the President’s Award in the 2011 Institute Awards, J+L Gibbons were praised for their highly sophisticated response to a very challenging brief.  ‘Making Space in Dalston’ included the creation of ten individual projects which would deliver better public space without losing the existing qualities of the neighbourhood. Projects included the installation of a linear vegetable garden and community orchard planting on the Somerford Grove estate, a pack-away playground for Dalston’s main square, a green wall for the Princess May School and the transformation of a piece of abandoned railway land into a much-loved community garden.

J+L Gibbons, in collaboration with muf architecture/art, were recognised for successfully creating better quality public space whilst avoiding neighbourhood sanitisation. The judges said; “This is a strikingly graceful approach to understanding an area, and sets a model for how it should be done. The temporary landscape projects are quite transformational.” By resisting the traditional ‘top-down’ approach the practice chose instead to work very closely with local residents, businesses and organisations to develop a shared vision for regeneration. The judges added; “The landscape architects encouraged local partners to take ownership of the projects. As such, it acts a test case for how the ‘Big Society’ might work at the point of delivery of new urban plans.”

On the Somerford Grove Estate, where residents were severely lacking in any green space, they were invited to help plant a new orchard, and a linear vegetable garden was established in response to local enthusiasm for ‘grow your own’. In Gillett Square, Dalston’s cultural hub, several improvements were made including the creation of a large mirrored container with a pack-away playground and sound and projection equipment allowing local residents to utilise the space much more effectively. At the Eastern Curve Garden derelict land was transformed into a local asset. The eco-garden with new barn to host community events, rainwater collection system and furniture made in on-site community workshops has provided a much-needed green oasis.

Approximate Map Location

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