Croydon Fair Field Public Space
A metropolitan meadow for Croydon, London and the UK's first naturally filtered water feature
The Fair Field sits at the heart of the Cultural Quarter in Croydon, London. The space is of key historic and cultural significance, having hosted fairs, social activity and entertainment for five and a half centuries. The Fair Field area is now subject to extensive redevelopment and a renewed ‘Fair Field’ public space will be critical to its success.
Our collaborative design draws on the history of the Fair Field, celebrating the contrasts, rapid changes and plurality found in Croydon and on the site itself. At the heart of the new design is a naturally filtered water feature, a mirror pool that also functions as an amphitheatre and, when dry, a multi-purpose performance and gathering space. This perfect circle of hard landscape reads as an urban clearing within the re-established nature surrounding it – the Fair ‘Field’ regaining its place at the heart of the community.
The design also incorporates a soft play area with temporary pavilions, and public art in the form of gateways and a set of Croydon patterns. Cuts are made in the podium level to expose and connect with the car park below, allowing vegetation to grow up, and natural light to filter down. A programme of public participation and meanwhile use will activate the space and invite input to, and build ownership of, the public space. A cultural exchange programme with twin-city Arnhem is also proposed, to strengthen links between the cities, and make it specific to this location.
Following a public tender process, our design was chosen by Croydon Council and key local parties as the winning scheme, which we will now develop further with the community, civic stakeholders and our multidisciplinary design team.
2019 - present
Croydon Council (London Borough of Croydon)
Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg, Kate Unsworth
MICA, Charles Holland Architects, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Max Fordham, DHA Design Services, engineers Haskins Robinson Waters, Gardiner & Theobald, WasserWerkstatt