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West 8 wins Bernie Spain Gardens design competition with ‘Sleeping Beauty’ pollinator garden

The Rotterdam, Netherlands-headquartered urban design and landscape architecture practice focused on creating a pollinator-friendly garden for the public park, which is run by the social enterprise owner and manager of the gardens, Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB).

The ‘pollinator gardens’ feature an abundance of native nectar and pollen-rich flowers, chosen to create an ideal habitat for foraging, shelter and nesting for birds, bees, butterflies and moths throughout the seasons. Human residents, workers and visitors can also enjoy the sights and scents of the blooms and they will be encouraged to take ownership of their care by a custom-designed garden ‘pavilion’, described as a contemporary twist on the garden shed.

The wood and glass structure features several custom-designed rooftop beehives and has a strong botanical, educational and community focus. The pavilion also pays homage to the legacy of Bernadette Spain, a local campaigner on health and housing provisions in the 1970s, after whom the gardens are named.

West 8 design director Adriaan Geuze said: “Bernie Spain Gardens are a sleeping beauty that will become an adored haven not only for flowers and pollination but also for people. The participation of the local community will be an integral part of the of the revitalisation and future success of the upgrade of the northern garden.

“The seasonal pollinator gardens will become a meeting point for the area’s diverse community of residents, office workers, and visitors. The design vision for the gardens is deeply rooted in the English DNA of creating gardens. It will be a horticultural display garden and an educational landscape for children and for everyone who does not have access to a garden.”

West 8 was one of five shortlisted competition entrants in the competition the competition, launched at the end of 2017. The others were Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape, J & L Gibbons, Kinnear Landscape Architects (KLA), and Reynolds Design.

CSCB’s group director, Iain Tuckett, said the decision was unanimous and West 8’s design had got the most public support during a consultation of the shortlisted designs. “The panel were impressed by all the designs, each team responded with a different but credible response to the challenges of our brief. We can only commission one team to take its proposals forward but all five teams showed ingenuity, imagination and real care in developing and presenting their proposals. We look forward to working with West 8 to create the pollinator garden.”

CSCB and West 8 are now working to refine the design in the light of public feedback. It intends to appoint a group of residents to include one or more horticultural training practitioners to advise the project as it progresses. The idea is to ensure good local engagement and advice on community input and horticultural training opportunities. There will be another stage of design and consultation with the aim to submit a planning application by the end of this year.

The selection panel, chaired by Paul Finch, programme director at World Architecture, included Sue Foster (Strategic Director, Neighbourhoods and Growth, and Sandra Roebuck (Divisional Director for Planning, Regeneration and Enterprise) for the London Borough of Lambeth; Rob Smith and Kfir Yefet (board members of CSCB); Iain Tuckett and Alison Pinner (respectively group director and deputy group director of CSCB). The competition was organised by Ted Inman (chair of Jubilee Gardens Trust).

This post was written by: HortWeek