Roundfield were appointed by Spitalfields City Farm in July 2012 to design a new community garden on a corner of the farm that was recently handed back by Network Rail following the construction of the East London Line. The brief put food growing at its heart, and included a challenging list of other requirements such as integrating animal grazing, encouraging wildlife, providing shelter and seating, a forest garden, water harvesting and incorporating a totem sculpture for outdoor events. And of course a spiral…
The design features a traditional intensive food growing area to the south, which includes raised beds and an experimental ‘mini-field’ area. This is contrasted with a more perennial based system in the proposed forest garden to the north. This creates a south to north transition from high to low maintenance food production. The two areas are separated by a planted swale, and linked via a sheltered boardwalk which provides seating overlooking the swale and opportunities to enjoy the iconic city sunsets beyond. With the site being off grid, the shelter structure is designed to harvest water into a large water tank, before overflowing into the swale.
The forest garden includes a circular clearing with seating and a sculptural totem element set on a spiral plinth. The forest garden itself will provide a wildlife rich setting whilst yielding an array of interesting foods Chilean guava, autumn olives and mulberry to name a few. The south facing boundary wall of the East London Line provides a great opportunity to grow more exotics such as peach, apricot and cherry trees trained as fans. Hardy Kiwis will climb up and along the shelter structure.
The raised beds and ‘mini-field’ are already complete and the forest garden was planted in March 2013 by farm volunteers with a helping hand from Roundfield. The main boardwalk and shelter structure are now under construction, due for completion in the autumn.
I’m writing to thank you for the 200% you’ve given to the garden. It’s just such a delightful and lazy and productive space to move around in. I can’t believe the difference simple, good design can make to a workspace.
Richard Walker, Spitalfields City Farm, London