Swanswell Park Arches

Handspring where asked by the Landscape Architects on behalf of Coventry City Council to design a entrance way as part of Swanswell Park refurbishment, which is on the edge of the City Centre. There are some Gothic elements in the park so this was our starting point.

Our first design had ten arches, all with a twist but due to budget constraints we finally settled on three. The structure needed to be solid, vandal and arson resistant as the park has a history of anti-social behaviour, which the refurbishment will hopefully tackle to some degree.

Our design has three large gothic arches, each twisted to the next, slotted into Steel box sections to make setting fire to them very difficult. There was also the inclusion of a bench, partly to encourage the public to follow the pathways and not cut across the corner of the park. Due to the very close, very large Horse Chestnut Tree we had to be very careful with the foundations. As a result the pad next to the tree is above ground, sits on top of the footings of a demolished wall and bridges over the tree roots.

The arches are made from freshly sawn UK FSC Douglas Fir. The curves have been profile cut from 2500x400x200mm sections and joined to make the legs for the arches. These joints were wedged, tabled scarf joints, which where glued and fixed with M8 stainless screws. The top joint is a draw doweled bridle joint and the braces are draw doweled mortice and tenoned with a cross halving joint in the middle.

We made the whole structure in our workshop, then transported it by lorry and with the use of telehandler installed it in half a day on site.