News: Erect Architecture Team winning Queen Elizabeth North Park, London

While James Corner Field Operations Team won the Queen Elizabeth Olympic South Park design, London-based Erect Architecture Team has been chosen for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic North Park design.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic North Park, London © Erect Architecture Team

The goal is to design a community hub and destination playground that will as part of the parkland and river valley of the north park area.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic North Park, London © Erect Architecture Team

This project will feature a playground themed on its surroundings with the chance to climb trees. It will be enterily linked with nature.
The team is composed of landscape architects Jennette Emery-Wallis and Claire Greener from Land Use Consultants, quantity surveyor Ian Jupp from Huntley Cartwright, Structural engineer Toby Maclean from Tall Engineers, Services engineer Neil Daffin from Max Fordham and artist enabler Ashley McCormick.

ConceptUsing native ecology as our key tenet, we have created a series of landscape characer areas which tell life cycle stories — from the pioneer birch and hazel woodlands through to climax pine forest and the developmental stages in between. Interweaved with this is the play layer which uses these stories to inspire bespoke play and potential event opportunities within each space.
Hazel CopseWe are proposing a pioneer copse of hazel woodland to enclose the event lawn to the east. The copse will be augmented by rich woodland under-storey planting, with informal weaving paths of bark mulch to create a magical play setting to explore and discover. To manage the hazel wood effectively it would be coppiced in rotation every 7 years. The harvested wood could then be actively used by children to create dens, undertake arts and crafts activities and encourage children and adults to learn about the wood and its folklore through environmental workshops and seasonal play activities.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic North Park, London © Erect Architecture Team

Den Making and Bug HotelsMoving out of the woodlands groups of hazel and rowan trees are set within grassy glades providing space for den making activities. Enabling children to manipulate their environment is a key requirement in rich play making. Long serpentine walls of log piles are proposed to provide playful hide and seek elements, whilst also performing a valuable role for insects and invertebrates by creating bug hotels and places to find and observe mini beasts.
Seed Heads' PlayBeyond here, close to the Hub, are a series of large scale artist-craftsman made timber/stone seed heads that have been 'dispersed' by wind from other trees and plants across the Olympic Park site. These are tactile play elements, which children can interact with, take 'bark rubbings', use as informal seats, as well as learn about key botanical and life cycle messages.
Sand + Water PlayThe design of the sand and water play is inspired by the industrial heritage of the River Lea as a key navigation route. The braided landform inlaid with layers of fine gravels mimics the river's overall morphology in miniature with water criss — crossing the area in a series of rivering tributaries, while children are encouraged to dam, flood and manage the flow of water through a set of weirs, locks and sluice gates — becoming their own water engineers. The water is then filtered for sand and re-directed to irrigate plant beds with any excess directed into the existing western swale to be filtered by the marshland habitats.
The Life Cycle Story of PlantsAlongside the sand and water play is a long bank of richly banded planting which will continue the storey of life cycle and succession, whilst also providing a colourful and sensory plant-based play element. Visually this will be a very attractive element of the play environment giving children a sense of time, seasonality and successional change, which again could be actively interpreted through environmental education workshops.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic North Park, London © Erect Architecture Team

The Pine ForestThe final 'climax' planting of our narrative is told through a group of Scots Pine set along the central raised landform. Using a play surface of natural pine cones, the play opportunities here are based on high level climbing and platform walkways using timber structures that mimic the form and habit of the pine to create billowy cloud-like enclosures high up amongst the real tree top canopies. This will be a physical and challenging play element attracting the 8-12 age group. Clear views of the wider North Parklands would be obtained, giving good observational and orienteering opportunities.
Large Scale Swings
Along the edge of the raised landform and pine forest are a series of large scale and robust swings, which groups of children and teenagers can use. These together with the pine forest play installations and the adjacent skate park and rockspace mark an increase in speed, intensity and physicality in the play offer to provide meaningful play challenges for older children, teenagers and young adults.
Rock LandscapeThe final element in our narrative is the creation of a bare rock landscape where our cyclical life cycle starts once more. Bands of graded shales and gravels set within a textured concrete surface traverse across the area, bordered by broad bands of meadow and grass planting, low scrub and birch trees, and large swathes of grass. Within these bands remnant industrial artefacts and rusting steel can be discovered, linking the site back to its former industrial heritage. Set amongst these artefacts are a group of large scale monolithic boulders which can be used for climbing and parcour activities. The focus of the area will be a large, bespoke, competition grade skate park set in the landscape like a piece of archaeology buried below the surface. This physical and challenging element will appeal to older children, teenagers and young adults and could  become a destination skate park across the London region for competitions and connect well with other activities linked to the Velodrome.
Integrated landscape and Hub Design
Much as the Suth Park's '2012 Gardens' celebrate the Britsh love of Plants from around the world, inspired by Victorian pleasure gardens, our landscape palete intends to explore and celebrate our rich ecological heritage. We have taken the theme of life cycle and ecology to inspire our design approach to the Hub and playground.
In response to the powerful and sculptural topography of the wider North parkland, three tensioned and dynamic landforms have been set up to respond to this context and take the form of an 'unfurling leaf', with the Hub forming the hinge point and focus.
Using the design language of the staged timber seating used throughout the wider parkland, which accentuate and transform the fluid landforms and add layers of human inhabitation, the Hub repeats and builds upon these forms to develop the building volumes. Set back from the street, views of the Hub will be seen across an expansive species rich meadow whose landform guideds the visitor to the entrance following a low mound, which forms a threshold between and east west connection and park. The mound is overlaid with stepped timber ribbons, which increase in height to form the volume containing the building's ancillary spaces. The south facing external seating forms spill out space for the café, animating the south facade.
From this location the Hub will benefit from views not only at city level to the Olympic venues, but also past the large scale mound of planted birch woodland and beyond the River Lea and the riverine landscape. A large solitary tree marks the building entrance and the beginning of the existing line of trees, accentuating pathway and swale beyond. The building is designed as an extension of the landscape, internal and external spaces read together. Local meadow species blown in on the wind will naturally colonise the brown roof above the services spine to become a rich ecological habitat in its own right. The smooth but robust weathered hardwood lining forming the external seating and service spine cladding extends into the interior of the building.
The building has been designed to limit the need for mechanical services by getting the physical form of the building to provide most of the environmental control and in this way that building is doing more and architecture is working with nature. The café and multipurpose room volumes are arranged either side of the ancillary spine. Their gently sloping timber roof planes relate to the dynamic and directionality of the landforms and frame views into the landscape. Generous roof overhangs and the coninuity of the paved floor finish blur the transition between inside and outside. The caracter of vertical structural elements and detailing of the timber cladding are developed in dialogue with the surrounding tree planting.
The interior of the hub is characterised by the warmth and texture of timber. All rooms are naturally lit, key rooms like the foyer, café and multipurpose room are lit from two sides. The vertical façade cladding acts as shading device and creates an animated play of shadow and light. Reception desk and some simple built in seating and platforms in the cafés and multi-purpose room storage and designed as an extension of the external seating features intensifying the connections with the landscape and signalling inhabitation and usability.
The external spaces are an extension of the building and have been designed to allow as much flexible use as possible. Similar to the southern side the northern elevation of the building forms a generous external café seating area, which also includes space for future building expansion, if the café proved to be a success. The café spill out space is defined by the mound with stepped seating on the eastern and the line of trees, swale and pathway on the western side. It allows for natural surveillance of the under 5's sand and water play area, which runs along the existing swale site boundary. The eastern volume contains the multi-purpose community room, which opens onto a large but intimate grass lawn, enclosed by hazel woodland. The large grass area will become a natural gathering space for families to picnic and enjoy the hub and play space, it is also large enough to receive small scale community gatherings, house stalls or a marquee and spill out space for weddings and community events.

A very interesting project that must be followed to see more.

Who are they?
Erect Architecture is an award-winning team of architects led by Barbara Kaucky and Susanne Tutsch. Erect Architecture's projects range from architecture to public space design to different kinds of interiors. Erect Architecture provides full architectural services, interior design, undertake community participation projects and offer fundraising advice. Erect Architecture's solutions are creative and hard working, tailored to the varied requirements of our clients.
Erect Architecture is a RIBA Chartered Practice.
Erect Architecture also has a blog.

More: Erect Architecture and Legacy Company.

1 comment:

vaibhav said...

Direct to the point,after seeing this blog i am just going to have a look at this park in googl map as i am not in the UK at the moment .. after this comment. One thing i liked about the images in this post is the way it is explained i mean that human drawings and all...Good job.

Landscaping Hardwood

Pageviews last month