AAB architects, together with landscape architect Charlotte Mclean, worked with The Friends of Duke’s Meadows to develop a masterplan for the radical improvement of this 1920’s municipal park. The main objective was to revitalise run-down facilities, and provide a design framework for the development of an exciting and sustainable community-run park. The proposals include a new water-play area close to the hub of the existing facilities, and the removal of the original paddling pool (which needed complete reconstruction).
The first phase involves creating a new paddling pool, which is situated at the centre of a space that has been created by modulating the existing ground levels along the edge of a popular pedestrian route to the River Thames. Raised mounds and planting provide privacy from passers-by and the lowered level of the paddling pool helps to give shelter and sense of place. The pool varies in depth from 0mm to around 250mm and is tiled with a colourful ceramic mosaic tiles. A kiosk is provided for selling of food and drink, incorporating the water filtration plant and a WC.
The play area is the second phase of AAB architect’s Duke’s Meadows masterplan, and is funded by the BIG Lottery and Marathon Trust. The brief was for an accessible play area in a natural landscape, and was developed with pupils from the local primary school and the Croft Centre for disabled children.
The objective is to provide a stimulating landscape in which children can invent their own games, including sculpted landform to create hollows and mounds (like a dried-up river bed), play equipment integrated with the slope of the ground, and planting to create enclosure and a range of sensory experience with the theme of water. Natural materials and found objects, such as boulders, tree trunks, recycled equipment and a redundant water fountain are incorporated in the scheme. A path cuts diagonally across the site, with a curved edge on one side that defines places for seating and enables access to the hollows and mounds.
Client: Friends of Duke’s Meadows & London Borough of Hounslow
Contract value: £1.5m
Completed: 2006 / 2010
Winner: Hounslow Design Awards for public space 2007
Winner: Mayor’s Safer Parks Award 2011, Gold
Image Credit: David Grandorge