Accordia as a Communal Landscape

Accordia hinges around the landscape concept of shared space, shared views and shared experience. It is about the collective enjoyment of the environment for both residents and visitors.

As soon as the idea of ‘Living in a Garden’ was agreed, the landscape and architectural solution became focused on the creation of some super scale garden experience in which each pocket of landscape or pathway or view from a building became  piece of a larger composition. The idea was each resident could have access to a series of spaces and routes, each with a very definite function or character, much like living in a famous English garden like Sissinghurst or the grounds of Rousham. The range of gardens include the ‘Central Lawn, the ‘Forest Garden’, the ‘Street Gardens’ and Hobson’s Brook among others.

The StreetGardens are of particular interest. These long and narrow spaces were conceived as big domestic gardens such as you would find in one of the grand Victorian villas that surround the site. The idea was each resident of the courtyard houses that faced this space could feel it was their own and they all have access to the landscape within it. The space was designed with simple and distinctive ‘garden’ features such as the rows of semi mature pleached Pears and the Timber Pergolas. These were supplemented by big communal tables, benches and planters for herbs and flowers. The planting within these spaces featured fruit trees and scented, flowering shrubs and perennials. All intended to evoke the classic features of an English town garden. The StreetGardens also have a sense of being overlooked and safe which has encouraged their use by small children and their parents.

By contrast the large open lawn that front the listed building of Brooklands House, has a greater scale and simplicity and has become the venue for the Accordia cricket matches between teams drawn from the residents and neighbours of the site.

Many people have commented on how Accordia seems full of children playing both in the dedicated play spaces but also in the various landscapes that have been created.

Certainly an essential part of Accordia’s success as a community landscape is the way the streets, mews and pathways have been commandeered by people, and especially children, rather than dominated by vehicles. These corridors are intrinsically linked to the network of  private, semi private and public spaces and are fundamental to the enjoyment of Accordia as a place to live and a place to visit.