Dalston has been undergoing a massive gentrification through the last decade. The characteristics of the neighbourhood changed dramatically. The project site, Gillett Square, is located in the centre of Hackney and used to be prone to vandalism. In 2006 the square was redeveloped by Hackney Cooperative Developments and nowadays it is ambiguous in being a public or private space.
This proposal creates a strategy for urban furniture that accommodates community activities for 300 people. These activities can range from an annual jazz festival which is already being held, or trigger new activities such as pop-up cinemas and performances, Sunday events for young families and a playground for kids. On weekdays, the design can serve as a public square for lunch breaks and socialising. The fixed arrangement of furniture pieces enhances the social interaction between people, therefore the idea of being part of a community is being emphasised during the activities.
The design serves the local people who live around the neighbourhood. With the help of the design, the different types of user groups can accommodate the square in different times and for various uses which allow it to be more open and lively. As a result, this becomes the new centre of community life and it discusses the aim to bring private developments of squares back in the common realm. Local residents would benefit from communicating with the cultural vitality, an animated public realm, lively neighbourhood and aesthetically improved places. Moreover, this proposal works as a seed for other locations. The resources for the project are the intangible values of being aware of living in an urban environment, having an urban culture, following community activities and finally participate in them. Local people will act as passive users early time but the project aims to change this to active involvement.
Jeroen Janssen is a Dutch architect based in London. He is currently working as a member of Parametric Applied Research Team (p.art) in AKTII. He gained his MArch degree from the Architectural Association School of Architecture with distinction. His work focuses on the geometric aspects of complex architectural design problems.
Filiz Toptan is an independent architect based in London and Istanbul. She graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture with a Master of Science Degree and Bahcesehir University Faculty Of Architecture (Honours) with a bachelor degree. Her work focuses on computational design methods in urban and architectural scale.