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Students from Ravensbourne’s Department of Architecture have designed a peace garden for victims of knife crime in Southwark, London.

Students from BA (Hons) Interior Design Environment Architectures and BA (Hons) Architecture were challenged by the Southwark community to design a garden for people affected by knife crime to reflect, and escape day-to-day societal problems within a budget of £15,000.

Students worked together with local community members including representatives from the Walworth Methodist Church who own the land, representatives from Kew Gardens, World of Hope and Southwark Construction Skills.

The project challenged students to rethink the role of landscape design in relation to the victims of increasing levels of knife crime, bringing together contemporary issues concerning education and social and economic problems. They were also faced with the challenge of ensuring the garden has a positive impact on visitors of all ages as well as cultural and religious backgrounds.

‘Our Garden’, comprised of Joshua Welch, Malachy Safsaf and Qudus Patrick were awarded first place for their design which incorporated three distinct areas, themed around ‘reflection’, ‘relief’ and ‘resolution’. The group sought to create intimate seating pockets to encourage interaction, aiming to make their design “as simple as possible, but also as impactful as possible”.

They were awarded a prize of £600, and have been asked to develop their concept incorporating feedback from the judges. Following this, their final design will be installed at the Walworth Methodist Church over this summer, open for use by Monday 24 September.

‘Void’, comprised of Holly Freeman, Matthew Smith, Yulia Bykova and Thomas Vercoustre were awarded second place for their design which took influence from the 9/11 memorial in New York, and included plans for seasonal plants to be used throughout the year to ensure the garden remained colourful. They were awarded £300 for their design Teams ‘Eden’ and ‘Phoenix’ were awarded joint third place, and given £150 respectively for their plans.  

Commenting on the project, Joshua said: "With the local people at the heart of our project we designed a journey for the Southwark community. Reflection, relief and resolution was our strategy to combat knife crime to support young individuals who have been caught on an unfortunate path. 'Our Garden' is a place for everyone to come and grow together as well as individually.

“To win the competition was amazing, we are over the moon to be able to work on such a significant project to improve the local community of Southwark — it is a huge milestone in our professional careers. Over the summer we will work closely with the team to bring the project to life in preparation for the opening on Friday 21 September.”


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