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Forgotten Spaces: Commended – Hanging Gardens of the Circle Line by Chris Hildrey

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[WESTMINSTER] Gardens above seven defunct ventilation shafts along the length of the Circle Line

Flashes of color from the rare flower beds along London Underground sidings and stations are a rare reminder of TfL’s horticultural potential. Chris Hildrey uses this as the starting point for its Hanging Gardens of the Circle Line, which creates eco-havens from seven defunct ventilation shafts along the route of the Circle Line.

Hanging Gardens of the Circle Line creates eco-havens from seven defunct ventilation shafts along the route of the Circle Line

These shafts - a legacy of steam-powered Tube trains that required ventilation – will support a dense yet lightweight tensile structure holding the soil and plants of the garden. They will create a micro-climate where moderated soil temperatures (via waste heat from the Underground) and mineral enrichment (via London Underground air particles) allow for near sub-tropical flora growth.

Fauna, too, will also feature: the blossoming flowers will help support London’s dwindling bee population while the London Underground mosquitoes, unique to the Tube, are available from below to pollinate the garden. Early planting will include flowers, ivy, and shrubs, and as the garden matures, fruit trees and more exotic flowers will flourish.

Forgotten Spaces: All 20 shortlisted entries feature in a public exhibition at the National Theatre until 4 July www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

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