The Royal Parks has revealed the first designs for a new Learning Centre to be built in Greenwich Park, which includes the creation of new green park space for public use.
The plans are part of ‘Greenwich Park Revealed’, an exciting multi-million-pound project to conserve and enhance Greenwich Park’s historic and natural heritage, putting the community at its very heart.
Architects practice, Architype, won an open competition to produce the designs.
The proposed new Learning Centre will be built close to Vanbrugh Gate.
As a community hub, the Learning Centre will provide indoor and outdoor learning spaces, creating opportunities for training, volunteering, social activities and commercial events. It will provide indoor and outdoor growing areas, public toilets, a drinking fountain, meeting place and an information point for visitors. The building will provide views of the Old Wilderness Deer Park.
The project will also convert the existing residential lodge at Vanbrugh Gate into a new public café, along with a kitchen garden maintained by volunteers.
Sustainability is integral to the project, with designs ensuring reduced carbon emissions both in the construction and day-to-day running of the centre.
Features include energy-efficient insulation and solar and thermal panels to generate heating on site. The design will incorporate rainwater collection and efficient water use. And environmentally-friendly natural materials will be used and sourced locally where possible – such as insulation potentially made of recycled newspaper, straw bale, hemp and sheep’s wool.
Graham Dear, Manager of Greenwich Park, said:
“This is a unique opportunity to generate new green space in iconic Greenwich Park for the community to enjoy, by transforming an underused contractors’ yard which is currently not open to visitors.
“These exciting eco-friendly designs incorporate garden areas for growing, a living roof and bird and bat boxes. All supporting biodiversity in the park and engaging visitors with wildlife by providing great views of the nearby Deer Park.”
James Todd, Associate Director, Architype, said:
“’The design for the learning centre has been developed in close consultation with the park and its stakeholders and will create a new focus at Vanbrugh Gate, welcoming the community and opening up currently hidden views, connections and learning opportunities to the public.
“We’re celebrating the link to nature through every aspect of the building, including the use of natural and locally-sourced materials.
“The aim is to create a truly ecological building that serves the park for the future and acts as a learning tool: minimising both the operational and embodied carbon impacts from materials and construction, limiting the use of plastics, creating new habitats for wildlife and embracing a series of new growing spaces and gardens around the building.”
The Royal Parks charity has initial support from the National Lottery through The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund for a £4.8million grant, as part of the multi-million-pound project. The Royal Parks, and other funders, will also contribute to the project. The project is supported by The Friends of Greenwich Park.