Spelling out a strategy for Wormwood Scrubs
1. By intensifying the use of land tended by private management (garden), and areas such as football pitches which are used for activity (field), the plan aims to protect the apparent wildness of areas of open heath
2. The penumbra is a perceptual perimeter. The surrounding area is recognised as having a special relationship with the Scrubs, while the hospital, prison, and some housing are described as part of the Scrubs itself
3. A tiling system allows different parts of the site to be considered in isolation, but links each part to the whole. The tiles spiral outwards from the centre, placing the Scrubs at the centre of its own masterplan
4 .Each of the lettered tiles is subdivided into 16 tiles, allowing smaller areas to be considered in isolation. Projects need not address a single site. This diagram focuses on the gateways to the Scrubs
5. Tiles F and T represent the Artillery Lane Gateway project. This £200,000£500,000 proposal addresses the gateway's importance, and includes improvements to the stadium, hospital grounds, and Artillery Lane
6. Together tiles E, F, G and W define the site of one of the proposals in the £50,000-£200,000 price band - informal sports pitches to encourage casual involvement alongside more structured sporting activities
7.Tile G shows Cullinan's initial implementation projects - a play area and a cycle path, as well as future proposals such as the removal of a derelict shooting wall, and alterations to the hospital and stadium
8. In recognition of the fact that 5-15 year olds are the Scrubs' 'missing constituency', the play area on the southern boundary is more 'gritty' than the traditional toddlers playground
9. To get maximum effect out of limited funds, the cycle path is 'stretched like chewing gum' and eventually disappears.Signposts, and streetlights wrapped with handlebar tape 'join the dots' by orientating the cyclist
10. The streetlights which mark the cycle path are blue lights on top of 17m high poles, which are visible from a distance. The 'beacons'are standard components usually used as obstruction lights, and cost £3000 each
11. The plan identifies two points in the city from which each beacon is visible.These 'outposts'align with existing streetlights. As bulbs need replacing, outposts will be fitted with more recognisable white lights
12. The 'future perfect' vision of the Scrubs includes the reorganisation of existing facilities, management strategies, improved visual, pedestrian and vehicular access, tree planting, lighting strategies, and a duck pond Cullinan and Buck Architects Limited (CABAL) has been commissioned by the White City Partnership to prepare a development strategy for Wormwood Scrubs. The commission follows the practice's involvement in the Architecture Foundation's 1998 roadshow at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (AJ 11.6.98).Phase 1, which includes work on the Woodman's Mews play area and the Scrubs cycle path has been completed by CABAL, Groundwork West London and LBHF Direct Services.Designed to enable the Council to pursue a coherent, strategic approach to future development of the Scrubs, the masterplan is divided into twenty-five inter-related but distinct projects set up at conceptual stage, so that work can progress as funding is obtained.
Having identified the needs and desires of those who use the Scrubs through on-going public events, exhibitions and meetings, CABAL and the LBHF Environment Department, identified relevant 'constituencies' for each specific project - those who might be advocates or users, or a potential source of organisation and funds. These include such diverse groups as the London Nigerian Rugby Club, Hammersmith Hospital, dog-walkers, the London Ecology Unit and the Ministry of Defence.
Each proposal has been allocated a cost band (which is necessarily broad at this early concept stage). At the top end of the scale, there are projects costed simply as 'over £5 million', such as a proposed new Central Line Station opposite Hammersmith Hospital on Du Cane Road - for a facility of its size, public transport links are surprisingly poor. CABAL has recommended some projects, such as the redevelopment of the Linford Christie stadium and the masterplanning of Hammersmith Hospital, for early development, but its primary concern is to kick-start work, and it has been at pains to include low-cost initiatives. A proposal to turn a patch of derelict land into an outdoor exercise arena for the adjacent riding school has been priced in the £20,000-£50,000 bracket - much of the development strategy involves changing the control or ownership of land, or moving existing facilities to a more appropriate place in what Dominic Cullinan describes as a 'Mad Hatter's tea party'.
Other aspects of the development plan are simpler to implement. The strategy of defining cycle routes by wrapping handle-bar tape around streetlights is described by Cullinan as 'deliciously cheap'. CABAL hopes that the council will use the tape for all its cycle paths 'so that the Scrubs begins to infiltrate the borough'. The proposal for a series of 'outposts' signalling points in the city which offer unexpected views of the park, needn't cost anything at all. Chosen to coincide with existing streetlights, the plan is simply that 'every time they change a lightbulb, a white one will go in'. Over time, people will realise that a white light means a park view. The beauty of the scheme, says Cullinan, is that 'the only thing you're nailing anybody down to doing, is changing a lightbulb'.