The King’s Cross pond, or ‘Of Soil and Water’ to use the title of this temporary art installation near the York Way railway bridge, was planned to exist for just two years. After that it will be filled in and covered with lawn extending Lewis Cubitt Park. That it will remain green open space is positive given the lack of green open space locally. But lawn is of limited ecological value. Local arts and environment charity King’s Cross Community Projects asks: What if the pond were to stay forever as a wildlife haven fully landscaped into Lewis Cubitt Park?
Of Soil and Water is the creation of Oooze architects Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg with ecology at its heart:
“The enclosed site presents the natural environment in miniature, a landscape in motion, a theatre of ecological cycles: the water cycle, the plant cycle, and the soil cycle. It is a mise en scène of the processes that occur between humans, water, soil and plants. All life starts in water. Plants move from water to land; they grow and move across the land, fertilise the soil, and eventually die.”
The King’s Cross green corridor, which includes Regent’s Canal, Regent’s Park, Camley Street Natural Park and Thornhill Bridge Community Gardens, has suffered, and continues to suffer, huge losses in wildlife habitat mainly because of canal side property developments removing naturally seeded mature planting. This is sometimes replaced with smaller areas of cultivated young plants but more often with nothing. Our local urban wildlife is at risk. King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership and Argent, developers of the trade marked King’s Cross private estate whose unique postcode is N1C, have an opportunity to gift that wildlife an entire ecology system and at very little cost indeed – if any.
This is a project the London Wildlife Trust at Camley Street would surely adore. Converting a public swimming area into a wildlife haven complete with existing planting. Their expertise is second to none and they are just the other side of the canal. All it would take is a little landscaping to tie the pond area into the rest of Lewis Cubitt Park. It’s hard to see what additional costs would be involved, yet the benefits would be many and varied.
Would the artists who created Of Soil and Water love to leave a lasting wildlife legacy to be enjoyed by local residents and visitors?
Surely Argent’s gardening team, from, Willerby Landscapes, would be more than capable of the biodiverse conversion given they would be tasked with filling the pond in and covering it with a lawn monoculture anyway?
We can’t see any downsides to this…