Barton Park Public Art Competition, Oxford


Our competition-winning entry for a public art commission in Barton Park, Oxford.


Barton Park is a large new predominantly residential master plan on the northern outskirts of Oxford. Historically the existing community have had close links with the existing car works at Cowley. As Oxford has grown and prospered the area has attracted interest as a site for expansion. Barton itself is the result of a previous 20th Century enlargement of the city beyond the ring road. The new masterplan aims to bring together the existing community and new residents, to form a coherent, enlarged suburb.


The public art commission forms part of a series of initiatives aimed at providing for the existing and new population and foregrounding the aspiration to make Barton a healthy, outdoor focussed community – wayfinding, nature trails, fitness, recreation.


Our competition winning proposal includes two components – Green Room and Villlage Green.


Village Green is a planting strategy bringing local species of flowering hedgerow into the proposed Barton Park landscaping. The initiative foregrounds Barton’s location on the periphery of Oxford as a hugely positive quality – proximity to the Oxfordshire countryside is one of the things which makes Barton a special place to live. Hedgerows help foster biodiversity and encourage local animal and insect life. Bringing local flora into the development emphasises the unique qualities of the location and supports initiatives such as forest school, nature trails and general biodiversity. During periods of flowering, fruiting and leaf colour the proposed planting creates an identity for the whole of Barton which is both seasonally varied and inherently of the place.


Alongside Village Green, Green Room creates a specific outdoor community facility at the heart of the Barton Park development. The structure, part potting shed, part outdoor classroom and pavilion, forms a base for nature related activities in Barton providing spatial and education resources to tie into proposed wildlife and nature related activities. The structure is deliberately flexible – as suitable for kids’ birthday parties and community barbeques as it is for classes on foraging and local flora and fauna. Proximity to local green spaces and schools ensure a productive overlap with initiatives such as outdoor classroom and wayfinding.


The aim of Green Room and Village Green is to create a piece of public art infrastructure which fosters and supports community engagement in the natural world in Barton. The ultimate ambition is to create a symbiotic relationship between both elements of the strategy in which skills and knowledge developed in Green Room can then encourage people to invest energy and enjoyment in their natural surroundings in Barton. The project creates the platform for these activities, the use of the project is the public art contribution.


Project Source

Competition — 1st prize


Competition 2018; Design development 2018-19