Walpole Park and The Rickyard

Architecture plus landscaping works for Soane's park renovation

The Rickyard, updated as a community learning centre, opens onto the park.
The Rickyard, updated as a community learning centre, opens onto the park. · Credit: Peter Cook

Jestico+Whiles for Walpole Park

Ealing, London

Walpole Park and The Rickyard is a landscape restoration and building renovation scheme in Ealing, west London. The judges singled out the project for the breadth of its programme and its wide reach into the community.

‘This had been a bog standard municipal park,’ introduced Hugh Pearman, ‘though originally it was where John Soane invited Turner to fish in the pond in the then grounds of Pitzhanger Manor.’

Now the park has been de-municipalised and restored by J&L Gibbons to its original Regency landscape as part of Jestico+Whiles’ refurbishment of the manor. Alongside the park, The Rickyard is a new learning centre by the practice that provides space for youth and community groups, schools, families and adults to meet, learn, run activities and host events. ‘This is architecture but also landscaping,’ added Pearman.

  • The newly relandscaped Walpole Park creates a more multi-functional and diverse setting for the public.
    The newly relandscaped Walpole Park creates a more multi-functional and diverse setting for the public. · Credit: J&LGibbons
  • A Kitchen Garden Steering Group plans the use of the kitchen garden.
    A Kitchen Garden Steering Group plans the use of the kitchen garden. · Credit: J&LGibbons
  • Youth and community groups, schools, families and adults can meet, learn, run activities and host events.
    Youth and community groups, schools, families and adults can meet, learn, run activities and host events. · Credit: Peter Cook

As part of the project, new visitor facilities include a café, public WCs and support facilities for park maintenance staff and volunteers. The redevelopment of the park and The Rickyard building has improved quality and functionality, bringing a neglected part of the park back into full, public use and greatly improving the immediate public realm. ‘It really works,’ commented Amanda Levete.

The judges enjoyed how the new building and environs support a wider range of volunteering activities and learning opportunities within the community and improve facilities for casual users of the park. For example, in parallel with design and research, the project team and Walpole Friends implemented a wider community engagement strategy to provide a forum for review and discussion with users and locals on emerging ideas, masterplan proposals and opportunities for involvement in the park’s future. The process focused on participatory activities and events.

The scheme returns a neglected part of the park to full public use and greatly improves the public realm

At the same time, the Walpole Park Outreach Officer co-ordinated an engagement and activity plan that included meeting with groups such as Action Acton charity to develop an introductory tour of Walpole Park, the Kitchen Garden Steering Group to plan use of the kitchen garden, the Youth Offending Service which trains young people in horticulture and Brentwood Football Club Community Sports Trust, to encourage female youth offenders on its programme to volunteer during Kitchen Garden sessions. Walpole Park is also registered as a learning destination for The Children’s University.


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