FoRM Associates: Northala Fields is the largest new London park for a century. Arguably the most significant feature of the Northala Fields design is the construction of a new monumental landform on site, utilizing substantial volumes of imported construction rubble from a pool of London-wide development projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5, White City and Wembley Stadium. The controlled deposition on site has successfully delivered £6 million of income, delivering the project at no cost to the tax payer. This approach to recycling has also significantly contributed to shrinking the ecological footprint of London by avoiding 165,000 lorry journeys several hundred miles long to outlying tips.
The new landform provides a solution to a number of site and development issues; mitigation of impact from the adjoining A40 (particularly noise, visual and air pollution); the provision of new recreation opportunities not currently available in the generally flat London Park; and the creation of new ecological opportunities through new topography and soils. Four large conical earth mounds along the A40 edge of the site help to reduce visual and noise pollution and provide a major piece of ‘land art’ that is a landmark gateway for West London. In particular, the viewpoint on top of the tallest mound provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding area including central London and Canary Wharf.
A series of clearly defined key routes support recreational uses and activities of the new neighborhood park. A network of primary and secondary paths connects with adjacent open spaces that make up the rest of the Countryside Park. New playground is set along the central spine of the park along with a series of open meadows and semi-formal planting and seating areas for more contemplative activities. Water is another major feature of the park, with a network of six interconnecting fishing lakes, a model boating lake and wildlife ponds, streams and wetlands.
Enhancing the ecological values of the site has also been a focus of the new design. A range of new habitats was created: Woodland both around the perimeter and within the site adds to the diversity of the existing woodland habitat; meadow and grassland types are the dominant vegetation in the development; water and wetland in the form of new watercourses provide opportunities for water and wetland flora and fauna that are were not present on the site. The approach to the design of Northala Fields has been a careful balance of providing a significant contribution to biodiversity in the area, whilst ensuring that the design meets the requirements to minimize potential bird strike hazard to aircraft from the nearby Northolt Aerodrome. Each mound has been created with varying soil conditions that supports wildflower and grass seed mix to give four distinct habitats.
Landscape Architecture: FoRM Associates
Team: EDAW + Peter Neal + LDA Design + C J Pryor
Date: Completed 2008
Client: Ealing Borough Council
Value: £6.0 million
Location: London, UK
Text & images: FoRM Associates
Winner 2008 Landscape Institute Award
Green Flag Award 2009