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Competition: Abney Park, Hackney

Abney park image by dave pickersgill
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Hackney Council is looking for a design team for a major restoration of the disused Abney Park Cemetery in north-east London

The winner of the estimated £500,000 contract will draw up plans to restore and enhance the Grade II-listed non-denominational burial ground, which was abandoned in the late 1970s and is now a local park and nature reserve.

The project will restore several deteriorating buildings within the 12.5ha park, including a chapel and entrance lodges, while also recreating original landscapes, repairing the perimeter wall and improving its two entrances. A new green woodworking studio, stone masons’ area, café and toilets will also be delivered.

In its brief, the council says the project ‘will reverse the decline of Abney Park and build in a sustainability that will allow the site to not only be conserved but improved for years to come. A combination of restoration to the original buildings, designed landscape, new buildings and landscaping will provide spaces that give Abney Park the ability to look after itself and for visitors to fully engage with the many facets of its heritage.

‘Abney Park was originally designed as an arboretum and garden cemetery and the unique and atmospheric mix of stone and wood remains the reason why people love the site to this day. The management of the site has historically been focused on fixing problems once they occur rather than proactively managing them, however. This has meant that opportunities to improve Abney Park have been missed in the past, and the Abney Park Restoration Project will remedy this.’

Abney Park was created in the 1840s on land formerly associated with the historic estates of Fleetwood House and Abney House. Located between Stoke Newington Church Street and Stoke Newington High Street, the cemetery features more than 60,000 graves including several listed monuments.

The burial ground was abandoned in the late 1970s, resulting in the deterioration of many of its buildings, headstones and original landscapes. Today the green space is largely overgrown, providing a habitat for wildlife, but visitor numbers are low and there are issues with antisocial behaviour.

The new project aims to restore the park and boost visitor numbers. Key improvements include the conservation and conversion of an existing Gothic chapel into an arts centre, the repair and improvement of its Egyptian-style lodges and a major overhaul of the park’s two entrances.

The winning team will be expected to include an architect, project manager, landscape architect, quantity surveyor, civil and structural engineer, and other disciplines. The winning team will initially develop costed designs up to RIBA Stage 3 and then continue working on the project up to completion, planned for 2021, if funding is secured.

The deadline for application is midday on 9 March.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Tom Simpson
London Borough of Hackney
Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY

Tel: +44 2083565650
Email: tom.simpson@hackney.gov.uk

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