Lunatic Garden, London

Lunatic Garden explores a landscape of cones punched up from the ground to become wildflower planters and benches along a busy urban road. It a was a competition for the Old Street roundabout, London organised by the Architectural Foundation. The wide pavement allowed for a separation into two zones, a straight route cutting diagonally across the site defined by mapping the direct movement of pedestrians towards the underground entrance, and the garden wedge buffer.  The open promenade was designed to allow easy and direct circulation, increase visibility and support to the shops. The garden buffer was designed for social interaction and sitting. Laid out as a more complex pattern of full and part circles, they define a network of curvilinear, meandering paths. These massive concrete cones are tilted at different angles creating seating areas at lower points. The curvilinear walls play with privacy and discovery on the pathways. The plaza was also designed to be seen from the many taller buildings above creating a strong urban impact in the neighbourhood. The old St. Luke’s Lunatic Hospital previously on the site was a strong reference for the project as lunacy has been associated with the moon. These full and phased moons are, thus appropriate for this site.  The scheme proposed to further extend across to the other side and do away with the traffic roundabout.