Habitats brings new human and ecological life to Hyh House, redefining the scale of its open space and adding both material and ecological richness to create a variety of areas for activity, as well as a green ‘sponge’ to soak up noise and pollution.

Habitats brings purpose and usability to this valuable urban green space. Through distinct physical interventions the scheme creates environments for ecological and human inhabitation, which together transform the Hyh House identity into one of vitality and growth. At the front of the site a wild grass and flow meadow is dotted with natural incidental play features for children to play amongst under the trees as they pass by with their families. Along the spine of the site a series of beautiful, natural and colourful blocks are stacked at varying heights to provide a backdrop to play and a semi-permeable visual barrier to the residential areas beyond. Planted with pollution absorbing plants the blocks’ mass soak up traffic noise.

Beyond the blocks, closer to the homes, the under-used grass is divided along the ground plain into a series of garden plots, all open but each defined by a new ground surface treatment. Whether, decking, gravel, tiles or flower beds these ground treatments offer residents the opportunity to try different uses for their outdoor space. Harder surfaces support gatherings and events, while softer surfaces provide somewhere for growing and games.

At the heart of the scheme lies co-design and co-construction. Techniques required are simple and while bold and beautiful the overall aesthetic is accessible, straightforward and natural. The staged approach to the design allows for key early-stage interventions to stimulate ideas and goodwill, as well as more in-depth engagement with experienced professionals and a legacy of collective ownership and positive, socially-focused use.

Profile

Co-DB is team of experienced designers, makers and doers offering a fresh, collaborative way of producing agile and sustainable built environments. With a strong materials-led approach we empower end users to make hands on improvements to their built environment, harnessing their local knowledge and pairing it with our professional expertise.

Based in Waltham Forest, Co-DB has delivered over 120 diverse built environment projects with communities across London since 2015.

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