Civic Heart – COMMON GROUND

Since it’s inception as common land for grazing sheep, the area encompassing Harold’s Cross ‘Triangle’ has had an imperative civil significance. Whilst Harold’s Cross Park today is no doubt its most valuable pubic amenity, the orbiting urban fabric has seen a decline in its municipal presence through dilapidation and the exodus of important institutions. This has led to a loss of it’s village atmosphere. Further more the surrounding street scape has been dispossessed of it’s connection to the park by an artery of high volume traffic which creates both a physical and psychological barrier. Harold’s Cross has become a route rather than a destination

Programmatically we decided to install a number of buildings with communal and social uses. These included a Town Hall, a Community Centre and a short term apartment complex to service visitors attending services at Mount Jerome or the Hospice. This network would be woven with public space, retail units and housing. We believe this will greatly expand the areas capability to host communal actives, chance encounters and public life.

In repairing the existing urban fabric our first response was to redirect traffic from the Western rise of the park, a move that we believe will both slow down and discourage traffic. This would allow us to reintegrate the park with the surrounding street front, creating a harmonious common space where the division between the park and street are blurred.

Further more by forging visual connections and reopening routes between to Harold’s Cross’ major institutions including Mount Jerome, the Hospice and the proposed school we hope to  create a more logical accord to Harold’s Cross’ urban fabric.

By Stephen Everitt, Andrew O’Driscoll, Kristin Sleator and Michael Sykes

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