Southwark Park is a Grade II registered landscape and one of the first ‘public’ parks in London, created in 1867. Paul Harrison, director at HDD, previously designed and managed a £3.5m HLF restoration of the park in 2003. It has long been the ambition of the Council and the park’s Friends group to bring a 3.6ha horticultural nursery, lying derelict adjacent to the park, into full public use as part of the park. At the same time associated proposals to bring the park office, café and toilet facilities up to date were required. HDD were appointed as lead consultant to take forward ecological, arboricultural, and topographic surveys of the nursery, to consult with the Friends, and then to develop a series of masterplan options for the nursery and café area. Working with LEP architects, HDD also set out a series of costed proposals for new facilities as part of this masterplan, including options for new-build, for extension and conversion of existing buildings, and for a combination of the two. Buildings in a range of traditional and contemporary design approaches were illustrated with footprints ranging from 250 to 400 sq.m in area with extensive external seating areas associated with the café. Working closely with officers from Southwark Council, HDD explored various means of space and cost efficiencies to make the project affordable.
All of the options were carefully designed to integrate with the historic park layout, respecting its valuable trees, vistas, and original structures. The designs thus seek to ensure Southwark Park will be a welcoming, safe, secure, and appealing place with high quality facilities for a wide range of users.