London Winner 5

Highgate Bowl

Carefully considered interventions and a lightness of touch breathe new life to a derelict horticultural glasshouse in North London’s Highgate Bowl, creating a much-loved community garden and versatile events space.

Sensitive interventions take the form of a folded landscape of external and internal pathways and a stage, rooms and furniture pieces that guide visitors through the large open bays of the restored but still fragile glass house. Roof glazing has been restored or replaced, some with frosted glass, and the metal framing cleaned and repainted dark grey.

The internal “skin”, made of white Osmo oiled CNC cut birch plywood, creates vertical and horizontal joinery components referencing the original structure’s frame and panel construction. These plywood elements are designed in a modular configuration, stepping down with each bay across the sloping site, creating a buffer zone to protect the fragile structure while contrasting with the dark glasshouse framing.

The project was carried out to a fast-track programme, completed on-site in just six weeks for the opening of the Chelsea Flower Show.

“Intelligent, low-cost interventions have transformed the derelict glasshouse to bring this beautiful and forgotten piece of the city back into public use so it can be enjoyed for years to come.” – Mark Stevens

2019 – RIBA London Award – Omved Gardens
2019 – Stephen Lawrence Prize shortlist – Omved Gardens