Paradise Park Children's Centre
Paradise Park was no Garden of Eden when this project began. The park was overgrown and more of a dump for burnt-out motorbikes than a communal green space. The brief to put a building in the park was hence a tricky planning issue and a challenge the architects confronted head on. If there had to be a structure encroaching on existing open space, why not turn the building itself into a bit of park? This thinking led to the most stunning aspect, the vertical green walls facing the street and announcing the park beyond. It is not just outwardly green, with rainwater being collected to feed the irrigation system buried in the walls, which waters the 7000 plants on the fašade. Inside, the main staircase is another little gem. Leading from the nursery level and cafe up to the open-plan office space, it is, all in black and white, a quiet and almost meditative space. It is lit indirectly by a high-level window and at night by muted lighting hidden underneath the handrails.