Skip Garden

The Skip Garden is a temporary garden in London’s Kings Cross growing food and community designed and built by undergraduate architecture students.

The Skip Garden was run by Global Generation, who work with local children and young people, businesses, residents and families to create healthy, integrated and environmentally responsible communities. The charity offers practical experiences and employment pathways to young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, and gives them the social, emotional and practical skills to make a difference in the world.

The garden was designed and built by undergraduate architecture students from the Bartlett School of Architecture. Designs are in tune with the cycles of the garden. They are unique, specific and responsive to their urban context. The design and construction process engaged students to work with a real client and a real site, emphasising the skills of managing a community which ranges from school children to local contractors.

Architectural education often rewards individual excellence. Successful architectural practice relies on collaboration and teamwork. Our Skip Garden project addressed this imbalance by realising the spatial potential that arises from collaborative working methods. The Skip Garden was a physical manifestation of a new form of engaged urbanism which is better able to respond to the needs and aspirations of local communities.

Sustainability is at the heart of the project. Reclaimed materials from nearby construction sites brought about innovative design solutions. Produce grown on site was prepared at the Skip Garden Cafe. London’s only commercial greywater recycling scape provided for watering the garden and the bee hives brought pollinators to Central London.

Local volunteers were engaged in the construction process to help generate a sense of ownership. Leading London design professionals also gave their time for the best design outcome. The project set a precedent for how architecture can be taught, but it also sets a precedent for the role of architectural practice to empower communities.

The Skip Garden was one of the most unusual and serene public spaces in London. In the middle of the King’s Cross development site, it was a paradigm for hyper-sustainability and provided a sequence of inspiring architectural spaces that initiated opportunities for learning and exchange for people from all walks of life.

The Skip Garden had to give way for the implementation of the King’s Cross Masterplan in 2019, although its legacy lives on at the British Library Story Garden and the forthcoming Triangle Site Habitat Area, which was granted planning permission in 2019.

Project Type Date