TRIANGULATING A CIRCLE
In 2014 Atelier Works were asked to submit designs for a structure to present some context for Lambeth's public war memorial in Stockwell, South London. The stone clock tower was completed in 1922 and it lists the names of 574 local men who lost their lives in the First World War. On the day of its commemoration thousands came to pay their respects, filling the surrounding park and streets.
Unfortunately, over many years new road systems gradually consumed the public space around the memorial. It was effectivelly 'marooned' in the centre of a very busy roundabout and the crossing of some increasingly busy roads meant that it had become difficult to get to. Lambeth Council initiated a re-landscaping of its surroundings with the intention to give local people a new public space and a setting that befits the importance of the memorial.
Transport for London put forward a plan to redirect traffic and provide safer cycle routes. Local architects DSDHA worked with the Friends of Stockwell War Memorial to developed a robust paving and planting scheme. What was once an isolated circular island became a triangular open space, with traffic directed along two sides and the third side re-connected the memorial to the nearest pavement.
Atelier's models helped define size and the amount of content that could be reasonably accommodated. It also set a structural challenge; how to attach a triangular frame to a central pole, so that it could be kept off the ground and away from mechanised pavement sweepers.
The landscaping scheme took nearly two years to implement and Atelier's final submission was eventually installed in early 2017. Inspired by the triangular-shaped landscaping scheme, our three-sided memorial totem stands at the prow of the re-named Stockwell Memorial Gardens.
The vitreous enamel panels are affixed to a central frame that enabled us to accurately align the prism with the nearby kerb apex. The totem was intentionally placed some distance away; we were conscious that the memorial should remain the the focus of the annual remembrance service. Great care was taken to match the panel colours to the paving stone and a muted use of colour ensures that this totem appears part of the landscaping scheme.
Three sequential panels describe the origins of Stockwell, how it has changed, and the building of the war memorial. The panels also feature notable local residents and the sections of the lower panels provide a fun 'can you find' local puzzle for children.