Thursday, 26 September 2019

Life / Brown & Green / Crystal Palace park

There's been a notable lack of good quality new architecture in and around the Triangle, as long as I've lived here. There are plenty of examples of bad new buildings, put up by developers, often poorly designed, shoddily built, and sometimes even in contravention of planning regulations, so it's heartening to see at least one beautifully designed, and clearly popular new structure, has arrived on our doorstep. The new cafe in Crystal Palace Park finally opened earlier this year, after various delays. Designed by Chris Dyson Architects, it's a 2 storey building clad entirely in timber shingles, emulating the scales of the nearby dinosaurs. It uses its location well, with the main cafe space on the lower level, at the end of the park's long lawns, while the function space upstairs is on a level with the boating lake, and connected to it via a footbridge.
The cafe is run by the proven local team of Brown & Green, and I think this must be at least their 6th outlet.They have a track record of family friendly venues, offering delicious and healthy food. In the summer they even hosted outdoor grills on the terrace, and round the back is an ice cream hatch. 
The building's other local reference is the larger than life parakeet mural on the stairs up to the function space, happily visible to passers by. Upstairs is available for hire for parties and weddings, as well as hosting toddler groups and exhibitions. One recent event up there, was to publicise the soon to be built 'Dino' bridge, which will give the park another great piece of modern design. As the park's very existence is rooted in the architectural splendour that gave the area it's name, it's good to see good design making a comeback.


The upstairs function room

And in case you'd forgotten, this is what the old cafe looked like.