For the Vertical Project Group 34, consisting of James Chandler, Lisa Jensen, Ayaz Shah and Lisa Jensen we chose to ‘Observe an Open Space for Gathering’ – Crabtree Fields on the Corner Colville Place.
I used to work in Fitzroy Square at the Arup Offices and this small, well planted park would often be the location for me to eat my lunch. A place out of the office, almost out of the city. On a sunny summers day there wouldn’t be a square centimetre of grass to spare – I preferred the crisp, clear autumnal lunchtimes there for a peaceful break from a hectic engineering office.
The site itself was bomb damaged in the blitz, remained as a carpark to the mid 1980’s when it was turned into a garden for local residents. It under went refurbishment in the mid 1990’s and has most recently seen the addition of a children’s play area towards the rear corner. It is abutted by buildings on the Western and Southern elevations, Gerogian terraced housing faces in from the North across the charmingly uneven paving of Colville place alleyway. Whitlock Road runs down the Eastern side with the British Transport Police Headquarters on the opposite side of the street.
Divided into sections there is a children’s play area at the rear, seating area with recently planted trees, grassed area covered with more mature trees and a pergola covered thoroughfare from the South East to the North West Corner.
It was with some amusement that when I returned for the Vertical Project a man brandishing a chainsaw was pruning one of the taller trees and unsettling the normally quiet ambience of the space – just goes to show how even the most serene spaces can be altered by maintenance activities. At midday few people resisted the noise of the chainsaw interacting with the wood chipper to take a moment’s rest on one of the many benches:
There was a group of 3 drunken people swigging from bottles of Vodka, one so intoxicated his friends eventually left him behind to sleep on the bench.
There was a couple practicing yoga in the Childrens play area.
There was a group of college students all squashed onto one bench eating burritos from the shop around the corner.
There was a man in a suit on the phone.
There was a lady drinking coffee and listening to music.
- Pergola corner construction detail.
- The Drunk at the Entrance.
- Grid of Trees.