Virginia Gardens

A new park and flower shop pavilion for Barkingside High Street, opening up a 1960s public swimming pool to the public realm.

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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
  • Status: Completed


  • 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

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