Mayles Lane

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Hampshire, England. 2016

Site photograph
Site photograph
Site photograph
Site photograph
Site photograph
11
Site plan
11

The development of an abandoned psychiatric hospital has resulted in funds for the creation of new facilities for a village on the outskirts of Portsmouth. The existing villagers are concerned about the impact of a large number of new residents and the provision of allotments are seen as a means to forge a new village community.


The purchased site sits approximately half a mile outside the heart of the village, separated from the shop, church and houses by a copse of trees and a railway line. The land sits exposed and slightly elevated to the south-east of the flood plain of the River Meon. The site was formerly home to a small stables and associated grazing before a fire led to the tragic loss of all of the horses.


Indigenous fruit trees are used to structure the site and give a manageable scale to the landscape which is organised by a central, tree lined avenue. At the northern end of the site the trees provide shelter from prevailing winds and organise the allotments to establish sociable relationships between neighbouring plot holders yet allow a degree of separation. At the southern end the trees define four fields that will be used on rotation to provide space for a picnic area, a mown area for exercise, a paddock, and a wildflower meadow.


The avenue passes through a cluster of small structures that sits on the former site of the stables and creates a social heart to the site.  The collection of functions aims to condense the collective aspects of the programme to form a community that assists in the management and control of the site. The allotment sheds are replaced with a single structure that contains an individual, secure storage bay for each allotment. The arrangement ensures that allotment users meet and interact with each other, further fostering community. The second structure is imagined as a community house; a place to shelter from the weather, hold community functions, parties, events, and meetings. The loose, sheltered square defined by these two structures faces south to make the most of the sunshine and provides a hard surfaced place for activities when the ground is wet; exercise, allotment harvest, picnics etc.


Project start

2016


Project completion
2020


Client
The Land Trust


Area
3.6 hectares


Architect
Michael Lee Architects


Landscape

Michael Lee Architects


Photography

Michael Lee