The purpose-built training building will greatly enhance the activities of Thrive, a charity that has been working within Battersea Park for 25 years, teaching gardening and horticultural therapy to those with learning, physical, sensory impairment and mental health disabilities.
The distinctive design replaces a collection of ramshackle huts and portacabins, and establishes a two part building that curves to a radius centred on the large plane tree that dominates the site.
A glazed orangery forms an entrance space and circulation zone as well as a working area for ‘dirty’ activities, while the second part of the building consists of an office, training rooms, kitchen, shower and WC. All rooms look out over the garden, with views up over the orangery into the tree canopy.
The building has been positioned to maximise the benefit from solar gain, as well as natural ventilation, solar shading and rainwater harvesting.
Consultation with users, therapists and management ensured the design would meet the various special needs of users. These include a design that allows gardeners to come and go from the building all day without needing to worry about shutting doors or wiping boots and wide shallow tool stores so that all tools have an allocated space and are easy to find, aiding memory reinforcement.
The gardens surrounding the building are being planted by Thrive Gardeners themselves, based on a plan by Sarah Price Landscapes.
Thrive chief executive Kathryn Rossiter said: "It is fantastic for our gardeners and the extra space will allow us to help more people and offer them more opportunities. It is a flagship building for us on East Carriage Drive which is already attracting the interest of many passers-by. We plan to increase the number and variety of plants and herbs we can use and sell to members of the public. We are in such a fantastic position to sell our produce on this main thoroughfare and look forward to welcoming people."
"Our challenge now is to raise funds to create a beautiful but functional garden around the building," added Kathryn. "We will be working as closely as possible to a design by Sarah Price which will make fantastic use of the space."