Granby Winter Garden
by Assemble

Assemble’s proposal for the Granby Winter Garden was inspired by the community-led efforts to rebuild Granby, located in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

A resourceful and creative group of residents started to bring the neighbourhood back to life by clearing, planting, painting, and campaigning, subsequently forming the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust to secure 10 empty houses and renovate them as affordable homes.

The Winter Garden was first envisaged as part of a network of projects, proposed by Assemble to help support the rebuilding of the Granby Four Streets for community ownership and benefit.

The intervention spans two houses in the middle of Cairns Street, a row of Victorian, terraced houses. Assemble’s design strategy for the Winter Garden sought to transform the typically private space of the terraced home into a focus for neighbourhood activity.

A surreal and unexpected secret indoor garden at the heart of a residential street.

When found, the floors of the two existing houses had collapsed, creating dramatic triple-height interiors, leaving the raw masonry construction exposed.

Assemble worked with engineers Structure Workshop to preserve the fabric of the buildings in their unique state. Two bright blue steel rings were inserted into the houses in a reference to Victorian palm houses, bracing the existing walls to form the open volume of the garden.

From the street, the two buildings appear unremarkable from the adjacent; behind the front door is a retained triple height room with a glazed pitch roof, planted with a seasonal garden.

The adjoining house accommodates a project space, common room and community kitchen on the ground floor, and a residency flat on the first floor.

The flat will host artist residencies and will also be available to rent, the income used to fund the Winter Garden’s running costs and a public programme of workshops, events and education.

Assemble collaborated with Granby Workshop, to produce hand-made ceramic elements for the project.

Including hand-dipped marble tiles, a custom range of double fired blue gradient cut-out Cyanotiles, smoked ceramics forged in a BBQ and pigmented encaustic tiles, used to line the rainwater pond in the rear yard.

At the centre of the Winter Garden there is a space for full-height trees to grow, and at the rear of the building a potting and propagation space serves the garden, the street and the wider neighbourhood of Granby.

The planting of the indoor garden has been a collaboration with local residents, headed by community gardener Andrea Ku.

Community gardening and creative action has been the foundation for positive change in the area and The Granby is a space to celebrate this history and support this collective culture long-term.

In 2015, Assemble were awarded the Turner Prize for the Granby Four Streets network of neighbourhood projects, created in collaboration with the Granby Four Streets CLT and residents. Building on the momentum of the Turner Prize, they worked with fundraiser Maria Brewster to apply for Arts Council Funding which has provided the main capital for the project build.

Author Assemble
Location Cairns Street, Granby, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Year 2016-2019
Client Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust
Surface 150 sqm
Budget £300,000
Collaborators Structure Workshop (Structural Engineers), Modero
(Quantity Surveyor), Max Fordham (Mechanical + Engineering Consultant),
Burdus Access (Access Consultant), Liverpool City Council (Building Control),
Maria Brewster (Fundraising and Arts Advisor), Nina Edge and Andrea
Ku (Horticultural Research), Mima Taylor, Steven Perkins and Mount
Venus (Horticultural Consultants), Andrea Ku (Nursery Lead Garden
Design and Planting Community Gardener), Nina Edge (Art Commission),
Merco Developments (Main Contractor), Granby Workshop (Architectural
Ceramics Supplier)
Photography Assemble

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a project powered by Itinerant Office

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