A Mobile Italian Garden transforms the terrace at Alexandra Palace into a welcoming area with exceptional views over the city. Drawing inspiration from the architecture of the palace, the proposal breaks the monumental proportions of the main building to meet visitors with a more intimate scale on their first encounter with Alexandra Palace. The theatricality of the terraced view is accentuated by the enclosed viewing amphitheater to contemplate the surrounding landscape: bringing to stage the gardens and the city of London in the background.
Besides ‘theatricalizing” the views, the design organises the area of the terrace into a landscape of scattered objects that can be rearranged geometrically resembling the formal garden, between grotto and folly, garden and landscape, stage and amphitheater, drawing from the historical character of the Palace and Garden. The design is directly inspired by the formal arrangement of the geometrical Italian Garden. The floor plan of the garden is extruded to create a series of three-dimensional movable structures of varying sizes. These units work as both planters and seating areas, functioning as viewing pods to seat from two to ten people. Each unit can provide a particular sensorial experience, provided by the smell of the botanical species that it contains, the quality and texture of the materials and the sights.
The pods can be arranged into 2 configurations: • a scattered, spread configuration that provides diverse different viewing perspectives giving variety to the garden experience. This configuration serves the quotidian use of the terrace, providing visitors the chance to linger or seat and enjoy the refreshments served at the bar. • an enclosed tight configuration for quieter times of the year and more intimate events. This configuration is displaced around a central area where concerts and screenings can be held, providing intimate cabins for watching the shows. The picnic tables will be arranged in grid format in accordance to the visual sightlines for the ‘garden’.
The intervention was installed in July 2014 and will be used every summer at Alexandra Palace.