with: Julia King, The Bartlett School of Architecture, Global Generation, William Hodgson, David Eland, Arup, Expedition, HTS, Structure Mode, Mark Whitby, Rammed Earth Consulting, Argent, generously supported by: Argent, The Bartlett School of Architecture Project Fund, Carillion, City of London, EPSRC’s Impact Acceleration Fund, Globe Scaffolding, Grow Wild Fund, Kier, Rotamead Scaffolding, Lawsons, Roca, award: Best temporary project winner, NLA Awards, AJ Small Project Awards (Charlie Redman’s Wellcome Shelter) photographs: Jan Kattein Architects & John Sturrock, student projects by: Richard Aina, Carrie Coningsby, Ali Conning-Rowland, Francis Hardy, Iman Mohd Hadzhalie, Angus Iles, Charlie Redman, Louise Rymell, Shona Sharma, Rachael Taylor, Chris Dembinski, Yangyang Liu, Pan Tzannetakis, Valerie Vyvial, Max Worrell
The Skip Garden is an urban food growing oasis in King’s Cross, in Central London. It is run by Global Generation, an educational charity, which works together with local children and young people, businesses, residents and families to create healthy, integrated and environmentally responsible communities. Global Generation offer practical experiences and employment pathways to young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, and give them the social, emotional and practical skills to make a difference in the world. Ecology, education and enterprise are at the heart of everything they do. The garden is mobile and 3 times it has had to relocate during the last 10 years to make room for the advancing regeneration of the neighbourhood. But its transient nature is also the most important asset. Each move brings about new spatial opportunities, new ways of doing things and the chance to engage new people.
The garden features 7 structures designed and made by undergraduate architecture students from the Bartlett School of Architecture. Designs are in tune with the cycles of the garden, are unique, specific and responsive to their urban context. The design and construction process engaged students to work with a real client and a real site emphasizing community engagement from school children to local contractors. Architectural education often rewards individual excellence. Successful architectural practice relies on collaboration and teamwork. Our skip garden project seeks to address this imbalance and realise the spatial potential that arises from collaborative working methods. With resources becoming scarce and the effects of climate change a stark reality, a new generation of architects must consider the implications of their work today as well as tomorrow. Design is evolving from the endeavour of the lone genius into a tool for engagement and dialogue, empowering communities all over to contribute towards the shaping of their city. The Skip Garden is a physical manifestation of a new form of engaged urbanism which is more flexible and better able to accommodate peoples’ changing needs.
Sustainability is at the heart of the project. Reclaimed materials from nearby construction sites brought about innovative design solutions. Produce grown on site is prepared at the Skip Garden Cafe. London’s only commercial greywater recycling scape provides for watering the garden and the bee hives bring pollinators to Central London.
Local volunteers were engaged in the construction process to help generate a sense of ownership. Leading London design professionals gave their time for the best design outcome. The project sets a precedent for how architecture can be taught, but it also sets a precedent for the role of architectural practise to empower communities. The skip garden is one of the most unusual and serene public spaces in London. In the middle of the King’s Cross development site, it is a paradigm for hyper sustainability and provides a sequence of inspiring architectural spaces that initiate opportunities for learning and exchange for people from all walks of life.
watch the documentary–
read the press release–
read the design brief