Restoring Victoria Park
LDA Design was commissioned by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to prepare design proposals for the restoration of Victoria Park and subsequently to carry out Contract Administration for the £8m construction project. The practice’s masterplan contributed to a bid that achieved £4.5m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
LDA Design’s masterplan has redesigned the central area of the underused eastern part of the park to recreate the ‘Heart of the Park’. A new hub building containing a cafe, designed by Randall Shaw Billingham Architects, together with LDA Design’s landscape design is intended to restore the legibility and attraction to this part of the park. It also includes the restoration of the existing 1980’s water play feature with interactive fountain jets. The play area is also being extended to the south to associate it with the new café building. A new skate park will be constructed nearby.
The Old English Garden, originally designed in the late 1800s, is being revitalised and LDA Design worked with Sarah Price who designed the new planting. Vegetation has been stripped back, with the exception of specimen plants and trees, to enable a new contemporary scheme to be implemented. The design also includes a new water rill and shallow pool within the garden.
Existing lakes in the park are being restored to their original shape, having both been partially in-filled, during the last century. The third island to the Western Lake, lost in the 1970’s is being reinstated, together with a reconstruction of the Chinese Pagoda, close to its original design.
The West lake has been drained to enable desilting works to be carried out, with the material extracted recycled in other areas. This Autumn the lake will be refilled using borehole water. The new boreholes will also provide a sustainable water source for future irrigation and saving a considerable sum from the park’s maintenance budget.
The previously semi-derelict V&A building in the west of the park is being restored and extended to form the focus for a new, larger V&A play area, and improvements are planned to the planting and soft landscape.
LDA Design said that the park needed to appeal to a wider range of people and be more accessible, so the entrances and pathways are being improved to create a pedestrian and cycle link to the London 2012 Olympic Park.
“The challenge has been to keep all areas of the park accessible to the public through the busy summer events schedule while the regeneration takes place,” said a spokesperson at LDA Design. “These works will ensure that the park will be delivered fit for future generations to enjoy in a sustainable and responsible way.” The restoration is due to be completed in February 2012.