Tonkin Liu’s proposal for Abbey Green draws on the patterns of its monastic heritage
Partner Anna Liu says this gives a strong sense of place and translates the abbey’s ancient topography, its patchwork of gardens and activities, into modern-day activity zones. ‘Abbey Green becomes a tapestry for community exchange,’ she explains.
It involves structural change to the site, including moving the two schools to the north-west, limiting traffic flows along Abbey Road and undulating the green’s flat plane. It also involves a four-way thematic exchange, which Liu terms abbey-to-town, green-to-town, town-to-green, and river-to-town.
In green-to-town, trees extend into Barking, with species linked to locality, such as willows for the river section. In river-to-town, Barking’s former fishing industry is connected to its present with new routes and a new water feature. And in town-to-green, the market is brought into the park. ‘This knits the town back together,’ says Liu.