Behind the Image

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, Hackney, London

Lionel Eid, George Garofalakis, Rosie Garvey and Alice Strang

Urban oasis: In one of the least green parts of the London Borough of Hackney, the garden provides a leafy space for local residents in Dalston town centre. The garden has a unique and creative character as a result of community involvement and a sense of an oasis hidden from the surrounding bustling city.

Hidden door: A narrow entrance funnels visitors from the city towards a large open air stage and a seating area for community concerts and events.

Informality: Ad hoc furniture and logs for seating create a relaxed, garden-like environment, reinforced by the houses which back onto the space.

Social and creative interaction: A cafe with sheltered seating areas and a covered workshop provide spaces for locals to meet for social or creative purposes.

Animation: Objects and pictures of various kinds showcase local artists. Other installations offer natural habitats for insects, worms and birds. Plants and gardening techniques are presented in decorative or raised beds and planters.

Flexibility: The trees and parasols provide a sense of enclosure and intimacy to the garden's main space. The community-run nature of the garden means that this space is used in a flexible way with a different character at different times of day, for example a bar in the evening or a children's play and learning space during the day.

URBAN DESIGN 159 Summer 2021 Publication Urban Design Group

As featured in URBAN DESIGN 159 Summer 2021

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A strip of land along the former Eastern Curve railway line was transformed into a much-needed public green open space for Dalston by local residents together with muf architecture/art and J&L Gibbons Landscape

In each issue of Behind the Image, one of our contributors visits a contemporary public space from around the world. The photography tries to reveal an alternative perspective on a familiar precedent, famous space or place. These images illustrate how the public space works in practice: exploring its features (designed and unintended), and the way it relates to the surrounding context.