Landscape Insight December 2017 - Page 29

AT HOME stakeholder. We always had someone from the charity present at all our meetings, which was really interesting. Volunteer groups like Stroud Valley were also involved and would help work on diferent areas within the garden. We divided the project into two areas so that diferent areas could be tackled. They managed to recycle all of the Victorian- riven slabs, which I think gives the project its quality. What were the speciic challenges of working with a local authority versus private work? In every relationship there’s accountability but in this one it was very front-loaded STROUD VALLEY’S MUSEUM IN THE PARK for us - a lot of the pre-qualiication questionnaires required us to prove more than is needed for the average private client. They need to see your track record, which involves going heavily into your business background and looking at accounts. They need to see that you are able to service the project, not just as a professional but that you have all the backup in place. It’s more thorough than private clients I’ve previously worked with but it is understandable as they need to justify where they’re directing public money. They fund a lot of projects and the museum has a fundraiser on board in order to gain money from diferent sources. What was your design process in house? Where did you begin concept- wise? The client had a brief so we worked with that to produce the concept. They wanted to keep their orchard as they wanted to grow and plant heritage varieties of trees. I thought they needed an area for people to sit, so we created a lat area. One of the constraints was where to put the lawn - there was a pit of Japanese Knotweed buried underneath a clay lining, so we were restricted in some ways there with what we could do. We couldn’t puncture that lining so it made complete sense to just tread very lightly there and make that a lat area for a lawn. From there I began to work out the layout of the levels. You have to work out how visitors will get from one place to another, from one landing to another, and where they will end up. I tried to make them all tie up with points on the plan which work like gateways, before then introducing some more details and trying to throw a load of exciting ideas out there. They’re very proud of their textile heritage, they produce the red cloth that is on the big veil in the House of Lords. I initially took this idea of a lovely red thread that ran through the garden, I thought it would be perfect, however, they said that they would like people to be able to use the space and they would like to encourage artists to come and do installations. Artists had always been involved in the garden even before it was restored, so I was learning about their work with the client as we went along. That was interesting, and I think it made me park some of my designer ego out the door which was quite useful. It’s lovely to be able to go to town as a designer but at the end of the day, it’s not your garden. They have visions for it too but I basically make that happen and that’s what our job is. What sort of budget were they working with? The budget wasn’t huge, it was roughly £145,000 for the construction budget. Everytime we had something that needed resolving, such as problems on site, they didn’t have the usual attitude of ‘take it out, don’t do it’ but instead that they would keep it and do it later. Even a year after the contract had inished, they put in the fruit tunnel that they’d always wanted and they did it well. December 2017 | Landscape Insight 29