Paradise Park Children's Centre has transformed a corner of the inner city. Set within an existing park, it not only improves access to a precious green space but also provides a range of high-quality community facilities.
The children's centre blends seamlessly into the park. Its most striking feature is a vertical garden - the biggest on a public building in the UK - running the full length of the building. Behind this dramatic façade are light-filled spaces for a nursery, crèche, a base for Islington Play Association and a café. The nursery and crèche have direct access to outdoor play areas and the café's generous glazing provides views onto the park.
Sustainability has been achieved within a limited budget. Building materials were strongly influenced by the green site, and the vertical garden, together with living roofs, minimise the loss of green space in the park and provide wildlife habitats and increased biodiversity. Recycled rainwater for the irrigation of the vertical garden, and a good use of natural daylight and ventilation and well-insulated building fabric, will result in low maintenance costs.
The judges said: 'A striking example of architecture coming together with nature'.