London-based, multi-disciplinary firm Assemble, in collaboration with landscape architects and circular economy specialists Local Works Studio, has been selected as the winner of the Revive Bramcote Park design competition organized by New London Architecture (NLA) and Southwark Council. Tasked with developing a master plan for the redevelopment of Bramcote Park in London’s South Bermondsey ward, the team’s winning proposal “A Park Made in Bermondsey” beat five other shortlisted teams bidding for the project.
The competition called for designs that created a safe, welcoming, and inclusive park shaped by the needs of the local community. Bramcote Park is currently split into two disjointed sections due to a traffic-heavy main road, so proposals needed to establish better connections between the park and the surrounding streets, all while promoting pedestrian and cyclist access. In addition, organizers looked for the creation of more green space and the use of low-carbon and sustainable materials.
The competition was judged by an expert panel including Aida Esposito, Founding Director of creativethinking; Rosa Rogina, Director, London Festival of Architecture (part of NLA); Sanjiv Sangha, Head of Technical, Design Quality and New Homes at Optivo; Colin Wilson, Head of Regeneration, Old Kent Road, Southwark Council; Laura Schofield, Membership Development Manager at the Landscape Institute; and Conor Sullivan, a Southwark Council local resident.
Assemble and Local Works Studio’s winning concept features a park of two halves: public square and forest garden. The green space to the south of Verney Road, the street that dissects the park, will be cultivated to become the forest garden. Existing planting will be enriched with an abundance of plants from around the world, enhancing habitats for wildlife. There will also be space for future volunteer community gardens.
The public square to the north of Verney Road will feature an open, flexible play area that could be transformed for special occasions. Surrounding the hard ground will be a green buffer of low-maintenance planting and grass with play features. Trees and places to sit will line the pavement surrounding the square. Playable space for children will be integrated into the layout and landscaping throughout the park. These features will be co-designed with children during play events and fabricated nearby.
A key goal for the design was to integrate Verney Road into the park. The team proposed the creation of paths and entrance gates that would welcome and guide pedestrians to a shared crossing away from the main action of the square. Greenery and a distinctive surface will encourage cautious driving across the shared road space. Road layout will be adaptable, as long-term developments in the region will lead to a reduction in traffic.
The design team will take a circular economy approach to the redevelopment of Bramcote Park through the reuse of existing material on site during and after the refurbishment in order to minimize transport and waste. The team will also work with local greening initiatives to grow plants locally and enable community participation.
Assemble and Local Works Studio will work with Assemble Play, an arm of Assemble focused on creating free play spaces for children, and Webb Yates Engineers. The design will evolve further through consultations with the local community and the final scheme will be delivered in late 2022.
“What stood out for me was the winning team’s combination of a creative and community centric approach, alongside technical and professional skills including art, play, landscape and engineering,” said juror Laura Schofield. “In their initial concept, they recognised the multi-functional value of green spaces such as sustainable drainage systems providing biodiversity and play opportunities. The team also demonstrated they’d thought about the project beyond the design and construction stages towards longer term management including community involvement”.
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