Picnic Garden, Capel Manor
The brief was to design an outside picnic space for Capel Manor College, where people could eat there lunch and sit out in the sun. The audience being mainly students in the week and families with children at weekends. Disabled access was a major consideration.
My initial thoughts were that some people liked to be secluded whilst eating their sandwiches, others liked to be seen and the rest would like to observe others, but not be seen themselves. I wanted to introduce a fun element, somewhere restful and a shelter to run or sit under when it rained. One of the fun elements became a central grassed hummock to sit, eat and sunbath on. Somewhere to see and be seen! Also easier on the back than sitting on a flat grass area. Second fun element was the circular pods, that remind me of clockwork movements or a safe movement. They sweep down from 2.1m at one side of the opening to 90cm at the other. They all have openings facing in different directions. This allows people to snatch views of some people on the hummock, next door bonketts and those walking by. Some special hide-away areas of certain pods mean the user can tuck away too. In the back corner is a steel supported, reinforced glass roofed shelter. All seating is tubular, stainless steel, the tables are wooden, the walkways are poured cement and the pods are painted rendered block (numerous tame green colours). Back walls are rusty coloured COR-TEN and wheelchairs have access to all areas of the garden, apart form the hummock. The entrance in each pod is wheelchair friendly too. So any chair user can roll straight up to the table and tuck-in. Block planting throughout. The new trees have 3 long season of interest, with fire orange leaves in autumn. Imagine the greens ands rusts with that. Lots of randomly hummocky box hedging oozing its way into the garden and then some clack bamboo as living walls to the shelter.