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Emerging practices win commissions to brighten up north London borough

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vPPR and Barr Gazetas are among 10 emerging practices selected by Waltham Forest Council for a new series of £40,000 public realm installations across the north-east London borough

Other winning teams chosen from the hundreds of entries included artist Lucy Harrison in partnership with Matter Architecture, sculptor Owen Bullet and Smith & Newton Architects, Hackney based design collective DAA Studio, creative agency Pidgin Perfect, Build Up, the drawing shed, Merrett Houmøller Architects with Colin Priest, and Matthew Raw.

Open to all UK-based artists, architects, landscape architects and designers, the contest sought proposals for 15 long-term interventions on a range of underused sites nominated by local residents. The winners of the remaining sites will be announced in the coming weeks and an open call for five more plots is expected to start in the spring.

The Making Places project, backed by the council in partnership with Create London, will see the winning schemes installed by October this year. Proposals for the sites – which include pocket parks and underpasses – needed to have a minimum lifespan of five years and require minimal or low-cost maintenance.

Leader of Waltham Forest Council Clare Coghill said: ‘Waltham Forest is a borough for makers and a borough for radicals, all built around the key element of fellowship. Working together, we can create wonderful pieces of community art that bring joy and happiness to residents and visitors alike.

‘All of these superb commissions will brighten up areas of Waltham Forest nominated by our residents – where they wanted change we delivered it.’

Hadrian Garrard, director of Create London commented: ‘Making Places presents a new generation of artists and architects with the opportunity of improving and re-imagining public spaces. It’s a confident statement from a London Council about the talent which exists in the UK and it is hoped that other boroughs can follow their example in finding new ways of improving our streets, parks and estates.’

Waltham Forest is a semi-suburban borough bounded by Epping Forest and the River Lea. The area, which is strongly associated with William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, has witnessed rapid transformation in recent years and is now tipped to become a major hub for culture and creativity.

Recent interventions within the district include the Brokkys Crofte experimental playground by Max Dewdney Architects, Assemble’s Blackhorse Workshop, and Drapers Field recreation ground by Kinnear Landscape Architects.

The competition focused on 15 prominent sites which were identified for new installations while an additional five sites are expected to be announced this spring. Together the 20 plots will cover all wards within the borough.

Sites currently identified in the initial open call included a traffic island in South Chingford, Ridgeway Park, The Highams Park, a sunken garden in Attlee Terrace, and a rundown open space near Stoneydown Park.

All proposals were required to be site specific and directly respond to issues raised by local residents and councillors.

Judges included Barbican arts director Louise Jeffrey; Tamsie Thomson, director of the London Festival of Architecture; Soho Theatre executive director Mark Godfrey; Create London director Hadrian Garrard; and Harriet Warden creative director at the Blackhorse Workshop.

The winners

Plot Lines, Linear Park by Lucy Harrison and Matter Architecture

Plot Lines, Linear Park by Lucy Harrison and Matter Architecture

Plot Lines, Linear Park by Lucy Harrison and Matter Architecture

A meadow and wildflower landscape that traces the history and the people who lived on the site of linear park. The history of the site will be researched with local residents and interpreted in the landscape, retracing the pattern of previous houses in lines of lavender.

The Clearing, Low Hall Sports Ground by Owen Bullett and Smith & Newton Architects

The Clearing, Low Hall Sports Ground by Owen Bullett and Smith & Newton Architects

The Clearing, Low Hall Sports Ground by Owen Bullett and Smith & Newton Architects

A public clearing in a forgotten wooded area of Low Hall, constructed from: a beaten earth circle, surrounded by tapered carved wooden uprights, a suspended ethereal cloud canopy and a variety of roughly hewn wooden boulders defining the edges of the enchanted circle.

Park Pavilion, Ridgeway Park by DAA Studio

Park Pavilion, Ridgeway Park by DAA Studio

Park Pavilion, Ridgeway Park by DAA Studio

The pavilion develops on the tradition of the band stand, creating a flexible structure which will become a focal point and a stage for community life. The known image of the band stand is accentuated and abstracted through its form and detailing, creating a structure which is familiar but distinct.

Long Table, Albert Crescent by Barr Gazetas

Long Table, Albert Crescent by Barr Gazetas

Long Table, Albert Crescent by Barr Gazetas

An 8m-long table is a focus for community events and gatherings. It will encourage displays, sitting and chatting, promotions and parties. A planting trough centrepiece set into the table allows seasonal colour and trees in planters create a screen adjacent to the yellow floor to create an oasis.

Langthorne Community Junction, Brierley Road by Pidgin Perfect

Langthorne Community Junction, Brierley Road by Pidgin Perfect

Langthorne Community Junction, Brierley Road by Pidgin Perfect

The project is conceived as a new landscape design and public engagement project for residents in Cathall Ward. Developed alongside local community members and construction students working with bricklaying techniques, this vibrant new site will be a meeting place and enjoyable space for everyone in the community.

Recreation for Everyone, Aldriche Way by Build Up Foundation

Recreation for Everyone, Aldriche Way by Build Up Foundation

Recreation for Everyone, Aldriche Way by Build Up Foundation

The scheme is conceived as a new public space that can become a hub of community activity, used by the whole neighbourhood. Every young person aged 14 -18 from the surrounding homes will have the opportunity to help build it.

TriO, Attlee Terrace by the drawing shed, Matthew Lloyd Architects, Sahra Hersi and Alex Spicer

TriO, Attlee Terrace by the drawing shed

TriO, Attlee Terrace by the drawing shed, Matthew Lloyd Architects, Sahra Hersi and Alex Spicer

Centered around a the ‘drawing shed’, the scheme comprises three related versatile structures that will sit within The Sunken Garden Community Orchard on Attlee Terrace housing estate in Walthamstow.

The Highams Park Gates by Merrett Houmøller Architects and Colin Priest

The Highams Park Gates by Merrett Houmøller Architects and Colin Priest

The Highams Park Gates by Merrett Houmøller Architects and Colin Priest

Visitors walking toward the three different entrances see the park beyond before crossing the threshold into its wide and undulating landscape. This sequence offers a more gradual, gentle reveal. With this in mind, the three new bright, contemporary new gateways simultaneously acknowledge the park’s past, present and future. Each entrance will have a different colour accent and has been designed to provide inclusive access for all park users.

Embedded Bread by Matthew Raw and Abigail Holsborough

Embedded Bread by Matthew Raw and Abigail Holsborough

Embedded Bread by Matthew Raw and Abigail Holsborough

The proposal is designed as a participatory artwork that celebrates the history of the bakery at Chef’s Corner and the cultural diversity of Waltham Forest. The entire wall will be clad in blue and white tiles paying homage to the original colour of the wall and also to historical ceramics from around the world. The design includes a large-scale typographic nod to previous bakers with handmade decorative tiles interspersed across the building at eye level. These tiles will be made in community workshops with abstract images of cultural bread and finished in the nearby Jenny Hammond Primary School.

Higham Hill Theatre by vPPR

Higham Hill Theatre by vPPR

Higham Hill Theatre by vPPR

The theatre is designed to accommodate a wide variety of performance types with a simple design and minimal material. Composed of various shades of red block, the theatre consists of a flexible range of stages and seating at different heights. It accommodates informal seating for the adjacent café, or performances organised by local youth groups, musicians and similar creatives, while enabling either proscenium or in-the-round configurations.

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