The Sugar Silo


Childhood independence has been massively eroded over the last 60 years. Time spent away from parental observation has almost disappeared. We strive to protect our children from real and perceived dangers. Throughout the project I explored the elements that have shaped this cultural change and its effects on children. Not just to their physical health, but their mental health too. How can children develop and grow when we don't let them overcome challenges and adversity independently. Children need to have free independent mobility and somewhere to go where they are not criminalised for just hanging out.

The old Tate and Lyle Sugar Silo site in the Bootle area of Liverpool became the focus of the project when looking for a potential site that could provide a large space solely for children. The disused grade II listed building became a large indoor play-scape. A parent crèche is provided to occupy parents while children play. To the North of the building lay a vast brownfield site.

The design of the landscape focused on three keys aims. To design a landscape that in itself would be a playground. To re-introduce the ecology of the Merseyside coastline and to celebrate the sites industrial heritage. On the West side ruins emerge from artificial dunes that are made from recycled sand and building rubble, this then moves through areas of meadow and on to wooded pine forest. The landscape is connected to the silo building with a steel overhead walkway in celebration of the Liverpool overhead railway. The paths within the park use reclaimed rail track as a nod to the sites history as a goods station. The landscape offers children opportunities for agility, fantasy and construction play as well as space to socialise.