New London Awards 2021 Winner - Brent Cross Exploratory
Winner in the MEANWHILE category
Argent Related and Barnet Council, working in partnership to deliver the 180-acre new town centre development north of Cricklewood, have opened a new public park. Named the Brent Cross Exploratory, the park designed by East replaces the Rosa Freedman Centre and Clarefield Park with a welcoming new landscaped space and enhanced amenity. The space will be available for several years for local people to enjoy until the permanent Claremont Park and Clitterhouse Playing Fields Part 1 are completed at which point the uses, equipment, trees and spaces will be extended out into the larger development.
The Brent Cross Exploratory provides a Temporary Open Space of just over 0.8Ha which reuses existing features. New play, exercise and games facilities increase the appeal and amenity of the provision bringing access to a wider range of ages and abilities. The scale and variety of uses proposed have been selected in order to provide a space that can be shared by a broad cross-section of the local community, and to complement the existing range of open spaces in the area during the Exploratory’s anticipated lifespan, including Clitterhouse Farm. At the entrance to the Exploratory from Claremont Way the boundary has been designed as a new civic ‘façade’, making a strong spatial relationship with the existing parade of shops and helping to strengthen the image of Claremont Way as a space. The foundations of the previous demolished building on the site were reused as a sub base for the hard standing areas, and key path networks have been retained, upgraded, and overlaid with a new grid of paths giving access across the space to all equipment and spaces. The red spire was retained from the demolished building; stripped and repainted as a sign of continuity and civic presence.
Exploratory Park has three main spaces: a paved area close to the entrance for events and games; a grassy area for picnics, relaxing and running around; and a central area with high-quality new play equipment that caters for both young and older children. The park has 41 new trees, planted and in pots for planned relocation to the future Claremont Park, as well as reeds, grasses and seasonal and scented flower planting. The design for Exploratory Park has been shaped by local residents, particularly children, with consultation taking place to discover what they wanted from the new space.
International Jury Quotes
Rather than leave something vacant, much better to do something nice for the community and create a relationship that carries over to when there is the development – rather than make the space inaccessible.
I appreciate that it’s not just fixed. There are moveable pieces which allow to create different spaces and relate to people differently depending of the time of day and what you want to do.