Part of our series of improvements to Barkingside Town Centre, Virginia Gardens is a new park adjacent to Frederick Gibberd's 1968 Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre. In a radical re-think of the original brief, DK-CM proposed the demolition of a 3m brick wall that previously surrounded the swimming pool to create a significant new public space for the High Street and a key new route between the town centre and surrounding residential areas.

The pool's delivery bay, which formerly presented an ugly blank wall to the High Street, is reconceived of as a small building containing public toilets and a retail unit, a 'scale model' of the original pool building that opens it up to the High Street.

At night the pool room is now visible to the public for the first time, with swimmers screened by a new balcony that aims to soften the appearance of the building when it hits the ground. Mature trees were specified to ensure the park appears well established from day one, with swimmers now able to swim under their dappled light.

The park opened in 2014.

Client London Borough of Redbridge / Greater London Authority
Value £2m (Barkingside Town Centre)
Dates 2012-2014 (Retail Building 2014-2016)
Collaborators JMP, Europa, eHRW

Special Mention European Prize for Urban Public Space 2016
Commended New London Awards 2015: The Mayor's Prize
Shortlisted New London Awards 2015: Public Spaces Category
Nominated Civic Voice Awards 2015