The Story Garden is the home base for Global Generation, an educational charity which works together with local children and young people, businesses, residents and families in Camden, Islington and Southwark to create healthy, integrated and environmentally responsible communities. Sited on an empty plot between the British Library and the Francis Crick institute, the garden provides a green social space in the heart of Somers Town while long-term plans for the site are drawn up. Somers Town is among the 10% most deprived areas in England, and we know from residents that there are sincere concerns about the environmental and air quality in their neighbourhood.
The desire to nurture a strong sense of local ownership informed an unusual approach: we only built half a garden, limiting our remit to the design and installation of essential infra-structure so that space was left for others to have creative input. Some 500+ volunteers of all ages have helped to build planters and garden furniture, spread mulch and water seedlings.
A small office and kitchen building with sheltered outdoor dining area was designed to disassemble and transport to a new location once the tenure on the site is up. A timber-framed WC block and potting shed is clad in white translucent shingles and three shipping containers framing a central deck provide for a small workshop which is used by Central St Martins students as a satellite makerspace.
Our incremental approach leaves room for future customisation and adaptation. The Story Garden is also the permanent home for the Milk Float, a roving community kitchen and workshop hosting gardening workshops and communal lunches across Somers Town.