Planning approval for ZAP Project live case study, Marlborough Sports Garden

Planning approval has been granted for the final phase of improvements to the Marlborough Sports Garden in Southwark, a live case study for ASBP’s ZAP Project (Zero Avoidable Packaging waste in construction).  The project ambition is to provide a sustainable, mixed sports facility, freely available to school children and local young people.

The Marlborough Sports Garden is in the heart of an urban community just behind the very busy Borough High Street in the London Borough of Southwark. In 2021, Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) appointed architects Cullinan Studio to realise its vision to create a sustainable, attractively designed and well-managed community space to support the health and wellbeing of local residents. Both are members ASBP and partners on the ZAP Project.

The award-winning proposals were granted unanimous planning approval on 21st September.

Jack Harrison, Head of Sport and Development at BOST said:

“We are delighted our award-winning plans for Marlborough Sports Garden were granted planning permission by Southwark Council this week. The space is unique in the area – offering free access and activities, plus low-cost court hires, to residents and workers, many of whom don’t have their own gardens. We are particularly focused on ensuring those who would struggle to access sports coaching and facilities are able to make use of this space – so we are thrilled our plans can now become a reality for our community.”

Kevin Goh of Cullinan Studio said:

“We are thrilled that the proposals for the Marlborough Sports Garden have received planning approval. The gardens are such an important facility to the local community, providing much needed sports to young children that otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate. The new low energy building and landscaping, designed to Circular Economy principles, will allow BOST to reach out further to more of the community, expanding on the fantastic work that they already do.”

Cullinan Studio’s proposals provide a new community hub building to support the revamped and reinvigorated Garden with a new community cafe, which can double-up as an events space, equipment store, flexible studio spaces and spectator seating. The new entrance, with its planted facade, will help to connect people to nature and provide a more porous, accessible and inviting gateway from the street to the activities going on within the Sports Garden.

BOST and the design team are united in their ambition to make the hub as carbon neutral and circular economy compliant as possible, from the materials used to build the community facility, to the operation of the café and sports activities. The rational standard structural grid ensures simple construction and reduction of waste. This arrangement provides the best opportunity for reusing reclaimed materials. Our design approach for the roof allows for varying depth spanning joists within the diamond structure, to maximise the amount of timber that can be reused from a reclaimed timber yard. Developing the façade design with circular economy principles led us to propose a reclaimed brick base, with lightweight reclaimed and treated sinusoidal cladding above. These panels, which are readily found in reclaimed material yards, will be brightly coloured, allowing existing finishes to be easily covered so they can be assembled looking fresh and new. Similarly, proposing a dark stain to the top band of PPC metal panels will allow these to be from reclaimed sources. The spectator seating has been designed to utilise reclaimed timber decking.

The proposals recently won The Pineapples Award 2022 for Future Place: Public Realm award and are currently shortlisted for two New London Awards 2022 in the Public Spaces category and for the special Community Prize.

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