Sunday, 17 February 2013

The AirSpace Yarden - work begins

Stage 1 of the Yarden developments at AirSpace Gallery is to transform a small narrow space squeezed between an on-site electricity substation and a neighbouring showroom building occupied by Norman Birch Scooters. The space has been overgrown for years, completely inaccessible, certainly for the six or so years AirSpace has been in residence at 4 Broad Street.

It is impossible to ignore the regularity of brownfield sites in Stoke-on-Trent, which following demolition, have been left to go to seed - with the result being the emergence of ad-hoc wild urban meadowland spaces. These spaces are unintentional in an urban planning sense, but beautiful nonetheless, and we at AirSpace think that this natural process could be incorporated into future urban planning visions.

So, we identified our small, overgrown unused strip of land as suitable for an interpretation of this idea. The space actually had plenty going for it. There are two existing buddleia trees - a ubiquitous presence in the brownfield sites - but famous for their butterfly-attracting qualities. We stripped away the lower limbs of the two trees, but left their crowns to flourish and provide ample resting space for the yard's birdlife. Initial excavations also unearthed a couple of existing ferns and an elder (Sambucus).

Once the space was cleared, we introduced a rescued Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis) and laid a brick herringbone path to take visitors the length of the space, winding through the two buddleias. 

Stage 2 and completion of this section will see the addition of a small pond, with the hope of attracting dragonflies and other insect life and hopefully a couple of frogs and some wildflower planting in readiness for the Spring.

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