Greatness Community Gateway

Project Overview

Community Project Architects

Shape Architecture was contacted by the Greatness Residents’ Association to design a gateway landscape project in their community. The project was awarded on the basis of our previous work for various community projects and also our nearby school project at Anthony Roper Schoo, Eynsford.

Community Architecture in Kent

With an extensive range of experience in community projects across London and the South East, Shape Architecture was invited to design this community scheme in Greatness, near Sevenoaks. Situated on a prominent street corner, the brief called for a distinctive and interesting design that would act as a gateway landscape for the community of Greatness. The design had to retain aspects of access into the two commercial properties on site, as well as the postbox and the bus stop that are also on the site. With features such as planting, seating, and bike storage provided, Shape Architecutre originally produced two designs that were then combined to create the final scheme.

Sustainable Green Landscaping

Based on the simple geometric concept of concentric circles, the design takes advantage of the naturally sloping site to provide a rounded bank of seating, realised in fair-faced concrete. Divided by a strong diagonal path for circulation, the seating is opposite a circular ziggurat style stepped planting area. Designed as stepped concentric rings of concrete, the planter reaches its tallest height in the centre of the plot, creating a banked focal point for the project, and bringing much needed green space to the community with its space for planting and small trees between the concrete structure. This green design will also allow for rainwater drainage down through the earth rather than run-off over the concrete.

Community Landscaping

Three more concrete planting areas protect the postbox from the main circulation area, and creates a distinctly separate area of the scheme for the bus stop, allowing the natural and subtle separation of use without creating a physical barrier. At the other end of the site, healthy lifestyle is encouraged by the provision of bicycle racks over a path of grey blockwork – another example of the design, and in particular the ground covering chosen, subtly specifying the use of the site. This blockwork circulation area feeds directly from the street to the shops, with the rest of the circulation specified as a pale yellow bonded gravel finish. This would be a hard-wearing and long-lasting covering that would serve the community for a long time, with lighting set into the ground as a way of illuminating the corner and creating interest and a focal point at night.

Dynamic Local Landmark

The main feature of the design is a large sign on the prominent corner of the site. Situated on the top of the concrete wall that defines the site boundary, the sign is designed as a large and immediately distinctive feature that clearly advertises to those passing on the crossroads just what community they are passing through. The large Greatness sign will ideally be realised in corten steel by a local artist so that it may weather gracefully over time, and with the aid of feature lighting at night it is designed to become a local landmark over time. The design deliberately features holes so as not to completely obscure views across the crossroads for traffic users on the road.

Pleasant Community Space

The Greatness Community Gateway design was submitted for the purposes of obtaining funding, and is a great example of the community architecture we are able to provide at Shape Architecture. Step-free access is provided to all shops already on site, as well as an attractive and safe meeting area being created between the trees and planters of the concentric concrete walls. The project will be a great focal point for the community, and big improvement on the flat concrete expanse that is currently used as unofficial parking. The green space and bonded gravel circulation will go together to create a pleasant environment that will be enjoyable to experience, all behind a distinctive and dynamic local landmark in the metal Greatness sign.

Key Project Features
  • Community Architecture