Commission – Dulwich College Memorial Garden

Voronoi GardenI have been commissioned by Dulwich College in south east London, to design a Memorial Garden dedicated to the wives of two Old Alleynians. The garden will be situated alongside the new Laboratory building, designed by Grimshaw Architects. The design of both the building and the Memorial Garden celebrates the relationship between the Sciences and the Arts. This relationship is embedded into the fabric of the Laboratory building through a collaboration between the architects and the artist Peter Randall Page. The resulting cladding of terracotta tiles is an interpretion the Lindenmayer system dragon curve fractal and replicates the algorithmic beauty of the natural order.  

Location of the Garden, to the north of the New Grimshaw Laboratory

Sitting between the Laboratory and the original formal gardens of the Barry building, the Memorial Garden further illustrates the relationship between the Sciences and the Arts through an exploration of Voronoi tessellations. Voronoi tessellations can be thought of as a geometrical tool used to understand the physical constraints binding the organisation of biological tissues, natural structures and geological forms (such as honeycombs, the giants causeway and the packing structure of corn) and the Memorial Garden is a physical representation of how human research is leading us to understand innate geometric rules.

The Memorial Garden’s paving begins by echoing the formal square grid of the cladding before disintegrating into a series of irregular convex polygons, closely reflecting natural cell formation, from these tessellating polygons extrusions rise up to form areas of seating.

The planting areas also follow the form of voronoi cells.  Low, so as not to obstruct the view of the Laboratory and chosen to link both to the wider site, the formal heritage gardens and contemporary buildings.  The colours reflect both the terracotta cladding and the blue detailing of the nearby Barry building.

The garden will integrate the new science block into the heritage site and link the contemporary planting with the original Milner garden.

The Memorial Garden is Phase One in the redevelopment of the site.  Phase Two will be completed during 2018 in time for the college’s 400th anniversary in 2019 and will include the restoration of the Milner gardens and further development of the site to create a new campus to inspire and influence the thinking, attitudes and behaviour of those who use it and create a diverse green environment to promotes concentration and learning.

This promises to be an exciting project and one which I am honoured to have been selected for. The design is well underway and installation is scheduled for summer 2017.