The challenge at Gunpowder Park was to deliver a holistic vision within a constrained budget, on a contaminated 90-hectare site. Devoid of vegetation and covered in a 1m-thick clay-capping layer, the site called for an understanding of soil requirements, ecology and horticultural practice, to enable the establishment of species-rich meadows on the clay by a combination of seeding and natural regeneration.
The design concept was inspired by the site’s “explosive past” – shock waves flow from an epicentre to create ‘Blast Meadow’ and the ‘Wave Mounds’. The form and pattern of the former cordite drying bunkers inspired the features on ‘Block House Field’. A sculptural, recycled concrete gabion wall 4.5m-high and 50m-long with integral artwork and bat roosts defines the
main entrance to the park and Field Station – a multi- purpose workshop/meeting space which reflects the Blast House forms which once covered the site.
Sustainability lay at the heart of the conception, construction, management and maintenance, with techniques were developed to minimise energy expenditure, waste and the use of scarce resources. Many lessons from this project underpinned the successful design and delivery of the 2012 Olympic Games Park and transformation process that delivered the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.