Situated at the end of the bandstand terrace, at the terminus of a formal avenue of trees, this new park pavilion defines an important civic space.
The building hovers above the ground and has breathtaking views over the city of London. Two simple forms interlock: the taller form encloses a multipurpose education space that opens onto a terrace, set treehouse-like in the canopy of the trees below. A zinc-clad box, it floats above the site, pitched at a level to enjoy views of the city skyline. The lower form is Larch-clad, and contains a kitchen, toilets and store rooms.
Drawing inspiration from the adjacent Victorian bandstand, the new park pavilion harks back to a heroic period in British landscape architecture and celebrates the ‘life blood’ supplied by London's city parks.
Wesley Kerr, Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund London Committee said: “The new Gardens Pavilion for learning and performance is outstanding and there is now marvellous synergy between Gardens and Museum, the latter regenerated to world class standards by an earlier HLF grant. Horniman Gardens has the most wonderfully situated bandstand, perched on a hill with panoramic views of central London from the south.”
Across the terrace sits the 100-year-old bandstand, designed by Charles Harrison Townsend, the architect of the landmark 1901 clock tower. The bandstand has been given a new lease of life with oak floorboards and the restoration of the original weather vane. The impressive views from the bandstand, which for decades have been masked behind screens, have now been restored, with new glass panels evoking its heyday a century ago and allowing the London skyline to once again become a dramatic, living backdrop to both professional and community music performances.
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