Oval Island Space

London Borough Tower Hamlets Architecture Team, London, 2017


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Landscape works for the Oval Island Space, a mixture of hard and soft topography, bespoke furniture and flexible performance space.

The works converted redundant ground, previously used for car parking, into a space that will provide a ‘hub’ external space for the surrounding businesses.

Situated off the Hackney Road, the Oval has been revived from a site known principally for illegal car parking and the dumping of rubbish, typified by anti-social behaviour, into a pleasant community space.

In liaison with the local community and businesses, the Oval public island was rebuilt into a fully accessible open space, imaginatively designed to fit with the local context, with safe seating areas, trees planted for a greener environment and an attractive new adjustable lighting scheme.

A stage area also doubles up as seating and adds to the flexibility of the space to host a wide range of events. Services for electricity and water are provided for temporary use when required. Local businesses in the area contributed to the plans, to ensure they met with future use, such as markets, festivals, choir practice and outdoor concerts.

The materials incorporated reflected the need for a durable, flexible, utilitarian space and referenced those within the wider context. For example, the weathered corten steel columns pay homage to the sites industrial history, nearby now-disused Bethnal Green gasworks, which dominate the skyline.

The area has been designed to prohibit vehicles from entering the space through interventions such as trees, benches, landscaping i.e. not just bollards. Where these have been used, they have been produced bespoke to double as seating. Utilising low carbon concrete materials, to match the refuge, the light off white colour of these elements compliments the varied dimensioned slabs, to create a cohesive palate.


  • Begun: May 2017
  • Completed: Nov 2017
  • Floor area: 660m2
  • Sector: Landscape design
  • Total cost: £240,000
  • Tender date: Jan 2017
  • Address: Oval, Easting 534726 Northing 183399, Grid REF TQ 3472683399, London, E2, United Kingdom