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John Betts School educational garden

Created in memory of two parents who had recently passed away, this project transforms a run-down forgotten corner of a grade 2 listed primary school into a Well-Being Garden for use as a multi-purpose outdoor educational space and retreat.


Dating from 1859, John Betts Primary School is a grade 2 listed building, which occupies a highly constrained inner city site in Hammersmith, West London.  The Well-Being Garden is a multi-purpose outdoor educational space that can be used for small teacher-led break-out sessions; a play area for the smallest children; or as a recuperative retreat when a child needs a calming moment. An important element of the brief was also to commemorate two recently deceased parents, one of whom was a school governor.


Looking to maximise the use of every corner of the school, the garden transforms an awkwardly shaped courtyard that had become an underused lightwell and a dumping ground for equipment.  It is conceived of as a boat surrounded by a sea of traditional British plants and multi-stem shrubs, such as birch and hazel. The planting creates a screen that both provides a sense of enclosure to the benches and also softens and masks existing elements, allowing the eye to be drawn to the seating area.


A commemorative path formed by engraved bricks is set into retained gravel. This links the main access points to the garden and gently reminds those who enter of those that have gone before. 


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