Balfron Grounds

Location:
Poplar
Client:
Londonewcastle
Status:
Planning

Our most fundamental proposals for the refurbishment of the estate are at ground level – where landscape, public realm and building meet. Landscape and the sense of arrival in post-war design was often the weak and impoverished element. The last 50 years have taught us a lot about place making and the importance of prioritising the landscape design and harnessing its potential to bring together a community of inhabitants. As a result we have worked with the community to remodel the main public space at the heart of the site. We will open up the main space by removing many barriers and superfluous levels in order to soften the divisions between public and private place and connect the sunken play area, a community cabin garden and private patio gardens.

The existing sunken play area utilises thoughtful abstract shapes that encourage children to be imaginative and have free reign to express themselves. Sadly,the play area has fallen out of use by current resident families. By providing good supervision vantage points and softening the edges of the area we will reinstate the original aspirations of the much admired 1960s design.

Additions such as a lighting column and moveable planters will help bring the community back into this main external hub as originally planned by Goldfinger. This vision will be extended where the external spaces are animated through a series of planting in the form of a number of varied gardens.

We feel the juxtaposition of planting with the Brutalist aesthetic creates a harmonious balance of verdant nature and exposed raw materials. Implementing a green approach that heightens the contrast between nature and concrete, it is our intention to create an ecologically rich, bio diverse setting for residents, whilst softening a predominantly hard ground floor environment.The gardens of Balfron will provide a range of environments with different botanical curiosities helping to bring programmed use, active community involvement and distinguish between public and private space.