London Fields Public Facilities

London Fields, 2015

The London Borough of Hackney engaged us to address the under-provision of lavatory facilities at London Fields, a popular and well used public park which holds a Green Flag award

The Borough also wanted to take advantage of the works to replan the southern entrance of the park to discourage antisocial drinking and gathering that was prevalent in the space and replan the green cycle route at the junction with the thriving Broadway Market and the adjacent road which was being replanned under a separate contract.

Hackney’s brief was to provide a building within the envelope of permitted development by local authorities and challenged us to ensure the building was economic, could be serviced by the Hackney’s service provider and could be completed to a very short programme to avoid purdah imposed on the local authority devel­op­ments at the time of a local election.

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As part of the park was on common land, a key design driver was the need to go through a PINS (Planning Inspectorate) Process which involved public consultation on a number of levels including agreeing various design options, agreeing capacity and selecting the best location within the park.

In addition to liaising with Friends groups, we provided drawings, text and location information in collab­or­ation with the commu­nic­a­tions department in Hackney for displays, surveys, on site present­ation and for polling opinions of users within the park. Several feasibility options were prepared exploring different config­ur­a­tions of function and present­ation of the building with the landscape.

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From the consulta­tions the council’s preferred solution and position of the building became defined. The preferred location, avoiding blocking long views through the park, was also in the vicinity of a primary sewer that crossed the entrance of the park, an additional challenge where we worked closely with Thames water to determine the location and avoid any issues with building over or too close to the tunnel.

In order to meet the issues of cost, delivery and operational maintenance we determined that a tailored modular building procured via a design and built route provided the best solution. We prepared an open tender and subsequently worked with the winning company on a design to enhance their standard system to provide the design elements determined during the consulta­tions and appropriate for the park setting. These included timber cladding and a sedum green’ roof to reduce water run-off and provide additional wildlife habitat.

This small building also provides a baby changing facility and an accessible toilet and has been designed to limit oppor­tun­ities for vandalism with the toilet bowls and sinks manufac­tured from robust materials. All cisterns and pipework are concealed within an accessible services core. The building has been designed to be expandable should there be a demand for additional capacity in the future.

Client: London Borough of Hackney

Filed to: Public and Community

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