Chris Dyson Architects has completed a new café in south London’s Grade I-listed Crystal Palace Park. The distinctive two-storey building is the practice’s first, complete new-build project, and comprises a café and terrace at ground level, and a community space at first floor level. Wrapped in half-round cedar shingles, the design of the façade references the scaled skin of the Grade I-listed dinosaur sculptures at the opposite end of the lake.
The café officially opened earlier this year and is operated by Brown & Green. Internally, the ground floor space provides 60 covers, public W.C.s and an external service kiosk. The new ground floor terrace provides approximately 50 external covers.
The first floor of the café provides a multi-purpose community space that can seat 60 with an external covered terrace. The space is made available for use by local community groups and for hire as a venue. The first floor can also be used by the café during day-to-day operation to provide a second service point at lakeside path level during busy periods.
The building has four active façades, with large amounts of glazing providing light and dynamic interior spaces as well as expansive, panoramic views of the lake, and out towards the wider park. The first-floor terrace is connected via a footbridge to the lakeside path, improving the building’s connectivity, while a chimney stack in black brick acts as a wayfinding landmark within the park.
The new building’s orientation is perpendicular to the park’s central axis, located at a key point that allows, for the first time, an accessible-for-all connection between the central axis and the lakeside path. Additional pathways and planting help frame the building and terrace in the surrounding landscape, with deciduous trees chosen to invoke a strong autumnal colour and provide a visual connection to the existing trees of the park.
Chris Dyson of Chris Dyson Architects adds: “We are thrilled to have been chosen to design this key social amenity in the heart of Crystal Palace Park. I am delighted that the café is already proving to be such a popular destination with the local community.”