A soaring timber lattice canopy now announces the new gateway to Gillespie Park and the Islington Ecology Centre in London.
The innovative structure, conceived and designed by landscape architects AREA is the culmination of a two-year effort and is the first completed project by the Suffolk based studio.
Being in the shadow of Arsenal Football Club’s vast Emirate’s Stadium demanded a visually arresting response, while the ethos of the ecology centre is demonstrated through use of timber; establishing an organic relationship with the site, much of which is self-seeded woodland in an area of former railway sidings.
Working in close collaboration with Built Engineers, the design team formulated a response that exceeded initial expectations of a tidy up and access improvements. A derelict and intimidating toilet block was demolished, with segments of the walls retained to provide foundations for the canopy structure. A new pedestrian gateway and footpath was created and this leads into the park via a ramp carved through experimental meadow planting. The canopy appears to float in the treetops above the new entrance and will gradually be colonised by climbing plants and merge with the vegetation of the nature reserve.
A hyperbolic paraboloid, the canopy required a high degree of expertise from specialist contractors Cowley Timberwork who CNC machined each of the thermowood glulam beams to precise tolerances allowing the structure to be slotted together on site within a 24-hour period.