National Heritage by Kenny Molekoa
Against the backdrop of the departure of an educational institution from site situated in the heart of Eltham., little is known regarding the future of the ‘Jewel of Eltham’-Avery-Hill Winter Gardens. With the site already secured potential buyers, we are witnessing the dawn of a chapter which has disrupted the dynamics of the area. In this critical moment it’s time to reflect on what’s of value to the local residents and to the borough? A jewel is being threatened by the powers of privatisation with the intention to merely building new homes with the hope that this might be conducive to creating communities. Such is the contradiction which arise out of a lack of information leading to a mechanical solution to an intangible problem. To make Eltham a commuter hub or not to, that’s the question we are faced with as we navigate a path of determining what’s essential to elevating the state of the neighbourhood to a more progressive in character and inclusive to its local residents.
The essence of my design is to begin a process of individual and collective transformation through an encouragement of a spirit of community building that is based on the essential humanistic qualities rather than to promote capital gain; however this process has no predetermined course. A frame for building capacity in individual and their immediate friends can be forged through a consultative process so that they become active agents of change in their own neighbourhood and enable a new pattern of engaging with each other that’s arising out of valuing a previously known or unknown treasure.
The space is a national treasure and should be celebrated by the rest of society.
As student and a concerned resident, I embarked on this academic exercise to increase my knowledge of the local area and to better understand how I could be of value to my community and to the architectural profession. I have lived in Avery Hill for about 3years now and familiar with the dynamics of the area, however in compiling the data I had to consult the opinions of some local residents, park users, business owners in the park & around the park, gardeners at Avery hill winter gardens & groundsman of the park, local community organisation (Friends of Avery Hill Park) and local youth through a small survey. In this regard I my design is a synthesis of various opinions, desires and ambitions regarding the future of the park.