Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
Location: London Borough of Hackney
Date: 2007 - 2010
Client: Design for London, London Borough of Hackney & London Development Agency
Hackney Design Award 2010
Mayor of London’s Planning Award 2010/11

Working in collaboration with muf architecture/art, The Eastern Curve, an overgrown, abandoned and little known piece of railway land was identified as a place of potential through conversation with stakeholders as part of the Making Space in Dalston project. Through the initial part of project identification, the opportunity to develop an eco-garden gained much local support. One aspect was the secret nature of its location which enhanced the sense of discovery through an existing old hoarding.
Hackney Design Award 2010, Sustain Magazine 2010 Winner - Public Realm, Commended London Planning Awards 2010 - Community Scale Project
The raw beauty and potential of the railway land and its ecology interested the Barbican Art Gallery who, in 2009, were seeking space outside the gallery to extend their exhibition Radical Nature. EXYZT, a French architectural/art collective were commissioned and they designed and constructed a five-storey scaffold windmill with a bread oven alongside a wheat field installation by Agnes Denes. Arcola Theatre cut an amphitheatre in the railway land to create a platform for local performance. During a three-week period 12,000 visitors came through the door serving as a real-time consultation, physically engaging with all stakeholders concerned, demonstrating the site’s potential, reframing its value to both landowner and the community.
Ongoing governance was as thoroughly considered as the built scheme particularly due to its mixed public and private parentage. Firstly, this meant negotiating a 'meantime' arrangement with the local landowner to allow the garden to be developed for community enjoyment pending future development.
Fundamental to the project is the success in delivering tangible benefit to the existing community. A design and construction apprenticeship scheme for local young men was created in partnership with the local Youth Hub together with the Hackney Community College for the barn construction. This offered hands on experience in the design development and delivery of the project.
Architects: muf architecture/ art and EXYZT
Structural Engineer: Stockleys
Civil Engineer: Stockleys
Cost Consultant: AppleyardsDWB
Barn constructors: EXYZT
Soil consultant: Tim O'Hare Associates
Civils Contractor: Davies and Davies Group
Soft Landscape Contractors: PGSD

Photography: © Sarah Blee, J & L Gibbons, muf architecture/art and EXYZT