Iconic Ecology of Colour Building Dismantled in Dartford’s Central Park After 10 Years of Service

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After ten years of standing tall in Dartford’s Central Park, the award-winning building known as the “Ecology of Colour” has been taken down. The timber structure, which was a part of the park’s secluded “Ecology Island” and served as a mental health retreat, was dismantled due to a combination of vandalism and inactivity.

The building, which won an award in 2013, was a unique and valuable addition to the park. It included a community arts studio, bird-watching hide, and park shelter all in one. The structure also featured an outdoor classroom and storage space on the ground level, with an enclosed room upstairs that offered stunning views of the River Darent and surrounding greenery.

Unfortunately, the wooden hut became a target for vandalism over the years and was often left unused. This led to the decision to take it down, despite its ongoing project between North Kent Mind and the North West Countryside Alliance, funded by Dartford council.

Local resident Peter Gray, who regularly walks his dog in the park, expressed his disappointment at the building’s dismantling. He suggested that the structure could have been recycled or repurposed for other uses, such as a bicycle shed for the nearby flats.

The building was originally designed and built in just two months, on a modest budget, by a team of residents and artists. Each of the 144 panels that made up the external cladding were hand-painted, making it a truly unique and community-driven project. The building’s design was created by renowned art architecture company Studio Weave, who have worked on major projects in London such as St Pancras and The Barbican.

The building’s unique design and community involvement earned it a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) South East Award in 2013, as well as Building of the Year and the Small Project Award for the same region. RIBA president Angela Brady praised the building for its architectural excellence and emphasized the importance of investing in good design for our communities.

A spokesperson for Dartford council stated that they are proud of the work done in Central Park and that the park continues to evolve. They mentioned that the wooden hut had served its purpose for over a decade but had become susceptible to vandalism and was often out of use. The council’s priority is to ensure the safety of all park visitors and they have plans for the area that will benefit the community, especially young people, and encourage the growth of flora and fauna.

The dismantling of the “Ecology of Colour” building marks the end of an era for Central Park, but also presents an opportunity for new growth and development. The council’s landscape and environment teams are working on completing the project by the end of Spring, and the park is sure to continue to be a beloved destination for the community.

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