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Timber gateway to Gillespie Park, Islington by AREA

Area landscape architects have provided this new entrance to welcome visitors to Gillespie Park and Islington Ecology Centre in north London

A new timber hyperbolic paraboloid canopy now dramatises the pedestrian gateway to Gillespie Park and the Islington Ecology Centre in London. This innovative structure, conceived and designed by landscape architects AREA, is the culmination of a two-year effort and is the first completed project by the Suffolk based studio.

The timber canopy replaces a derelict toilet block, welcoming visitors to the park and Islington Ecology Centre. The park is in the shadow of Arsenal Football Club’s vast Emirate’s Stadium, so the project brief demanded a visual icon combined with an ecological ethos.

The installation of the hyperbolic paraboloid structure of the canopy was assisted by specialist contractors Cowley Timberwork; the thermowood glulam structure was slotted together on site within a 24 hour period.

A new pedestrian gateway and footpath were created to lead into the park via a ramp carved through experimental meadow planting. The canopy appears to float in the treetops above the new entrance and growing vegetation will allow it to gradually ‘merge’ with the nature reserve.

The client was the London Borough of Islington and the canopy was completed in July 2009.

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