Café Roj

A bright, airy new café is helping more people to access and enjoy Ducketts Common, a vital green space in the busy centre of Wood Green.

The structure gives a local independent business a lasting stake in the park and tempt people to spend time in the park all year round with a bright, airy seating area and an accessible toilet. The project was developed with care over the last four years to reflect the needs of local residents, the café operator, Haringey Council and the Common itself.

The project emerged from a partnership between the Council, an existing kiosk operator and the friends of the park. Together, they established a shared agenda to improve the safety and accessibility of the park by increasing the opening hours of the existing kiosk. As the business thrives, this part of the park feels busier and better overlooked, reducing the perceived risks of crime.

The café’s deep external timber framework allows shadows to play across its rendered walls through the day, helping it to sit lightly among the mature plane trees which fringe the Common. It is sited carefully to avoid their roots while ensuring that the compact kitchen and seating area address the open space and overlook the park’s entrances.

Inside, the simple timber structure is exposed. A deep timber sill runs around the edge of the seating area, reinforcing the connection between interior and exterior through the wide windows. Internal and external serving hatches allow the kitchen to operate flexibly with minimal staffing.

An illuminated orb on the café roof reflects its branding (Roj means ‘sun’ in the operator’s native Kurdish). As well as giving the business visibility across the park and from the busy neighbouring intersection, its gentle glow helps this corner of the park feel safer on gloomy winter afternoons.

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