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Abbey Green Shortlist: Hawkins\Brown

Hawkins\Brown approaches Abbey Green as a bio-diversity project, dividing the park into horticultural and activity sections that introduce multiple varieties of, as director Roger Hawkins puts it, ‘birds, pollen, seeds, history and humans’

The thinking behind the design is that, as well as its ecological merits, bio-diversity encourages cultural diversity. ‘More diverse environments provide more human habits and more opportunities than does a monoculture of lawns and trees,’ he explains.

The park’s northern portion becomes an urban woodland of dense tree planting, undergrowth and long grasses, with clearings for relaxation and a new woodland museum. The southern section features formal and wild orchards, an embanked swathe of annual and perennial plants, a grassed common and, at Town Quay, new terraced wetlands with a canoe club and fishing plinths.

The central section around the abbey ruins and the Curfew Tower includes a plaza for the staging of markets, events and ceremonies and a performance space set among the ruins themselves.

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