Duncan Terrace Gardens

 

 

Context/  Duncan Terrace Gardens represents one of the final segments of the New River Walk. This 28 mile line follows the course of the New River aqueduct, extending from Hertfordshire into North London, and completed in 1613 to provide London with fresh drinking water. Within the immediate densely urban context of City Road and Upper Street, Duncan Terrace Garden is a vital haven.

Design Process & Proposals/  In consultation it was described as poorly used, degraded,  an uninviting dark tunnel of overgrown vegetation. In the process of community engagement and design, key principles were agreed: to preserve and enhance the existing green character, and in particular the mature trees, – but also to lift and reduce the heavy canopy and ameliorate the compacted soils: to facilitate new layers of planting, bringing in light and new views, seasonal variation, and facilitating new functions.  The new structural framework that was defined was one which could evolve and develop over time.

A new zig zag path sought to dramatise the experience of moving through the new sequences of planting, maximising the tight linear space; it also reduced the % of hard surface, but used the existing footprint in order to minimise impact on existing tree roots.   The paths all drain surface water into the adjacent  planted areas. A new timber boardwalk creates a woodland detour. Access and circulation was improved by the creation of new entrances, and the traditional boundary railings were restored and planted with climbers to create a sense of gentle enclosure.

At the two primary entrances new and more open gathering places were defined, characterised though by different scales and colour palettes. A grass stage for park life replaced the original tired rose beds in the sunniest and widest section of the garden. As part of a restrained materials palette bespoke concrete blocks retain raised planting at one end (for an immersive experience), and raise the new turf at the other end (and the embossed concrete motif carries a subtle memory of the roses, which were also replanted on the boundaries). More intimate and quieter sitting places were located within the new woodland planting that stretches between the two new entrance spaces.The garden continues to develop in the hands of an active local gardening group, providing a place and a shared aim to bring people from its diverse community together.

 

2006 existing layout/   

 

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2007 proposed plan/  following first stages of community engagement

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2008 final new layout/ 

C:Documents and SettingsBlairDesktopDT 104DT104 MASTER ( fo

 

2008 planting concept/  layers of colour & texture in seasonally dynamic sequences: distinctive & evolving places in sun & shade, with 10,000 new plants

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The designers have made a space in Duncan Terrace Gardens that has engaged local people in its future, and that is admirable”,   Landscape Institute judging panel 2010

 

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Collaborators

London Borough of Islington  Client/  remapp  Landscape Architect + Lead Consultant/  TOHA  Soil Scientist/  Price + Myers  Structural Engineers/  Baillie Knowles  Quantity Surveyor/  ACS Consulting  Arboroculturalist/  Kitkaboodle  Bespoke Concrete/  Calabasas  Main Contractor/

Programme      2006 – 2010

Budget              £450,000

Area                 3675 m2

Awards

2010                 Landscape Institute Award,  Design Under 1 Hectare: Winner.
2009                 Islington Society, Architecture & Conservation Design Excellence Award: Winner.
2009                 London In Bloom, judged as part of Islington GreenSpaces: Gold.
2009                 Britain In Bloom, judged as part of Islington GreenSpaces: Silver Gilt, with Special Mention for Duncan Terrace.
2009                 Horticulture Weekly Landscape Awards,  Best Use of Plants in the Landscape Category: Shortlisted.

 

…….”superb planting, month after month after month”…..Briar Silich, local resident and park user