Designer to take on Arsenal pitch

Best Show Garden winner at Chelsea 2005 to turn Highbury ground into open square

The pitch of Arsenal Football Club’s old stadium is going to be turned into one of the most prestigious open spaces in London. The area occupied by the historic Highbury turf will become a square. The older stands will be redeveloped as flats, while the newer stands will be replaced by blocks designed by architect Allies & Morrison. Around half of the square will be open to the public, while the rest will only be open to residents of the newly created homes. The square is being designed by minimalist garden designer and landscaper Christopher Bradley-Hole, who won the prize at Chelsea 2004 for the best garden in show. The garden will be divided into a grid of areas of different sizes. This will be marked out by lines of white-stemmed birches, limes and bamboos, and yew and hornbeam hedges. There will be benches, foliage and perennials including Sanguisorba and Agastache. One area will contain a memorial to fans whose ashes have been scattered on the pitch over the years. There will be stunning rectangular towers of diffused glass, which can be illuminated at night. Some of the glass structures will contain vents for an underground car park. The garden will be criss-crossed with stone paths reminiscent of the original chalk lines on the pitch. Bradley-Hole said the grid would be similar to the straight line paintings produced by the abstract artist Piet Mondrian. He added that the whole structure was intended to create an “exciting calm”.

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