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Home Living : July 31st 2012
URBAN DESIGN GREENING OF THE LANEWAY Going potty in the city. SYDNEY architect Andrew Burns says the main idea behind the Gibbons Rent laneway project was to test out how design can assist in the creation of community. ''This was achieved by a strat- egy of 'incompleteness','' he said. ''Often in public domain projects every small detail is designed and resolved, down to the planting layout and furniture selection. ''I'd suggest that this does not allow for the city to grow and evolve. At Gibbons Rent, we have established a framework for the garden, consisting of a harlequin geometry marked on the ground. We then installed 90 large concrete pots, reused drainage pipes, throughout the site.'' These have been planted with a diverse selection of plants by landscape designer Sarah Eberle. Between the pots are spaces for members of the local community to put their own pot plants. BUILDING COMMUNITIES TURNING HEADS LANEWAY GARDENS ARE THE LINK Janita Singh Gibbons Rent was inspired by the laneways of inner Sydney. Picture: MICKEY LEE SYDNEY is known for its spec- tacular natural beauty, par- ticularly its bushland and many species of native flora and fauna. This has inspired many in different ways, including Aust- ralian architect Andrew Burns whose latest project is turning heads in London. Inspired by laneways of inner Sydney, Mr Burns has designed a small, playful and inspiring inner urban garden and lan- eway regeneration project in London. Along with British landscape designer Sarah Eber- le the project provides useful lessons in building inner-city communities. Mr Burns was invited to transform a public space in London called Gibbons Rent, for the London Festival of Architecture this month. The Gibbons Rent laneway is in a previously neglected area of inner London. ''This project is a small but very powerful lesson about how to build real community. In urban areas, people are hungry for the connectedness of nature,'' Mr Burns said. ''What we have done is create a clear structure or geometry. We call it a harlequin. This arrangement then provides the opportunity for the community to engage with and embellish the geometry, and to complete the scheme.'' The harlequin layout nar- rows and widens to create shifts in perception of space and distance. Large pots have been placed throughout the laneway and planted with a range of shrubs. The local community is then invited to complete the project, with schools, businesses, and community groups each bring- ing a pot and putting a plant into it. The 85m-long inner urban walk will become a per- manent community garden. Mr Burns hopes to bring the same concept home. Working with local architect Tim Wil- liams, he has a new idea called Super Sydney. 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