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The Ecology of Colour
photo: Jim Stephenson
As part of a project to bring public function to Ecology Island in Central Park, a neglected corner of Dartford, we have designed a colourful building to act as jolly custodian for the re-imagined park.
Our proposal is comprised of organising a programme of events and workshops based around dyeing and wildlife; a small building that provides flexible accommodation for these activities; and planting a meadow of flowers and vegetables that yield natural dyes and beckon wildlife.
The timber-clad structure is an outdoor classroom, dyeing workshop, art studio, bird-watching hide, tree house and park shelter all rolled into one.
Opening shutters of various sizes on the upper floor allow for activities ranging from quiet, hidden wildlife spotting, and nature drawing workshops, to public events that spill out into the park.
The cladding is decorated with a pattern called Joy designed by graphic designers Nous Vous.
Prior to its installation, Nous Vous ran a series of workshops with a team of local residents and artists to paint all of the 144 panels, which form the external cladding.
It's a Colourful Life
Joy façade pattern
The creation of two intertwined cycles has guided the project: the process of extracting colour dyes and using them for crafts, and the wildlife these plants attract including insects and birds.
Fabric dyeing workshop
Studio Weave developed both brief and design for Ecology of Colour to place emphasis on community engagement and creating a meaningful educational resource.
Hand-painting the cladding
The intention is for the initial series of events, including candle making, darning and fabric dyeing workshops, to be followed by the foundation of a friends’ group, in order to firmly root the project’s activities in its local community.
We have collaborated with a horticulturalist to design a garden that will yield natural dyes.
The planting scheme, which will be installed next Spring, predominantly includes traditional plants native to the South of England such as Golden Rod that produces yellow, Alder known for its vibrant red and Bugloss whose roots produce a bright blue.
Candle Making at Ecology of Colour
Location: Dartford, Kent, UK
Project Status: Completed
RIBA South East Award 2013, Winner RIBA South East Building of the Year 2013, Winner RIBA South East Small Project Award 2013, Winner