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Making Places

‘This Howse first sett amonge the low Marsches was aftar with sore Fludes defacyd and removid to a Cell or Graunge longyng to it caullyd Burgestede in Estsex, a mile or more from Billirica. Thes monks remainid at Burgstede untyll entrete was made that they might have sum helpe otherwyse. Then one of the Richards, Kings of England, toke the Ground and Abbay of Strateford into his protection, and reedi enge it brought the forsayde Monks agayne to Strat- ford, where amonge the Marsches they reinhabytyd.’

The Making Places competition organised by Waltham Forest Council asked for proposals for public realm improvements for a number of small sites around the borough. We chose to look at a neglected site on the corner of Brierley road. Our proposal consisted of three moves:

The first is the low and deep concrete wall that runs east/west of the site on a gentle curve. The change in level allows for the wall to be interacted with at different points, providing seating at various heights across its length.

The second move is the paving of the rest of the site. The paving unifes the space and is set out in 6 segments that fan across the site, naturally addressing the turning of the corner. Each segment is split into two triangles, accommodating two paving types and negotiating the site’s sloped topography. The alternating surfaces experienced when walking through give a sense of rhythm.

The third and final move is the freestanding bronze plaque and larger lettering on the stone wall. The plaque will feature historic mapping of the area featuring West Ham Workhouse and Langthorne Abbey, from which the name of Langthorne Road is derived. Also on the plaque is an extract of text written by John Leland; an eminent poet and antiquarian of the 16th century. The firrst few words of this text ‘The Howse rst sett amonge the low Marsches’ is enlarged and positioned on the wall.

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