St Joseph’s Garden, Hackney

Client:   St Josephs Hospice
Value:    TBC
Status:  Design Development

Our proposal for St. Joseph’s Hospice Garden and Restaurant seeks to provide a tranquil and unique sanctuary in the centre of Hackney for patients, their families and the staff that care for them. Our architectural approach was to ground the garden in the symbology and materiality found in the hospice’s history. The hospice’s hidden Chapel, informs the narrative of the garden. The garden’s cruciform geometry follows the line of the chapel’s central aisle whilst pews of hedging form the nave. A crossing connects an east and west ‘transept’ of landscape in the form of a terrace and a private seating area, lined by a reliquary housing artefacts left in memory of loved ones. A new stone lining unites the existing buildings and boundaries surrounding the garden, and defines a language for forming openings in the existing buildings, including the redesigned restaurant, to create new vistas and connections into the garden so the space can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Our proposals were developed in consultation with hospice staff and patient representatives in a series of design workshops. A number of meetings were held to establish the ambitions of St. Joseph’s, to understand what was required and to develop the brief. ‘Suggestion Trees’ were provided to allow patients, visitors and staff to contribute ideas and place their input into the rejuvenation of these valued assets directly onto scale models of the spaces. These ideas were in turn incorporated into the scheme design to ensure that the proposed garden layout would echo the needs and wishes of those who use it most.

The geometry of the plan strongly references the plan of St Joseph’s Chapel, drawing on its geometry and it’s rich materiality and detailing to inform the garden design through the re-interpretation of the herringbone flooring, the pews and the timber fretwork lining of the chapel walls.

Photographs of the model showing soft landscape and low level planting arranged in ‘pews’ across the garden space in reference to the chapel seating, whilst paths and open areas in the garden are paved in a herringbone pattern referencing back to the timber floor in the chapel.

A stone lining of cast concrete wall panels layered across the restaurant and café elevations and along the adjacent hospice building walls unifies the buildings and provide a language for forming new openings and interventions onto the garden. This lining continues into a trellis screen along the eastern boundary to the garden referencing the intricate fretwork of the timber wall lining within the existing chapel. The lining is taken into the garden space to provide a reliquary for a collection of artefacts left by the families of former hospice residents. This ‘wunderkammer’ or reliquary of mementos and keepsakes frames a separate, quiet and contemplative seating area within the main garden space.

New openings from the garden into the refurbished restaurant

The new design integrates the surrounding courtyard, circulation and existing garden spaces into a singular exterior landscape through the extension of the concrete paving pattern and a cohesive soft planting plan throughout. A direct connection between the garden and the hospice restaurant is established through the insertion of new full height openings into restaurant walls and the re-arrangement of the internal layout to allow for easy access and views out to the garden space.

Axonometric view demonstrating the proposed layering of concrete lining, trellis screen, soft landscaping and planting to the proposed garden and courtyard areas.