A contemporary reinterpretation of ‘the forest’, returning a natural habitat to a residential neighbourhood whilst revitalising an unloved space. Responding to the rapid urbanisation of Leytonstone in the late 1890s, HÛT's proposal explores the creation of a shared forest garden to revalue the connection with our lost natural habitats.
The intersection of Drayton, Southwest and Bulwer Roads is mapped through a series of grids and waypoints noting the existing constraints, flora and typologies inhabiting the site. Referencing Leytonatte-Stone as a waypoint – the proposal intends to mark part of a journey; rather than the destination.
The forest canopy, the structure of any area of woodland, is reinterpreted by drawing reference to the vernacular of hop growing – a traditional east London seasonal occupation. A series of vertical timber planters have perennial English garden plants trained to grow and enrich the natural habitat – vertical growth augments the planting density on a limited footprint.
The forest floor, the primary habitat within the woodland, is reimagined as a playful landscape of semipermeable surfaces and rain gardens. Serving both practical and aesthetic functions, the reinstatement of permeability into the urban environment improves natural infiltration to decrease flow rate to existing watercourses and subsequently reducing downstream flooding and deterioration in river water quality. The forest floor is an ever changing environment – which is further enhanced by a lighting proposal aimed at spilling low level lighting across the site, emanating from rammed earth constructed follies. Rammed Earth, an ancient and beautiful building methodology, is growing in importance as we seek to decarbonise the construction industry and will form the basis of a community involvement with the process of building their forest garden.
Formed of readily available local materials, suitable to the context of the area, the proposal seeks to explore and provide an interesting and varied natural landscapes within an unloved, urban site.
HÛT is an architectural practice based in Shoreditch, London. The practice believes a simple, refined approach – robust, carefully considered and beautifully resolved – produces the most elegant designs. The everyday and familiar are re-imagined to produce an architecture that delights and surprises.