I had a lightbulb moment the last time I was at the gym. If you’ve never been to the Grade II listed Brixton Rec, it is an architectural icon designed in 1971 by Lambeth Council’s former architect (and socialist) George Finch.
At the centre of the building is an impressive circular atrium rising six floors from the basement. And around each level, inside the handrail are large troughs which – I now realise – were intended for planting. It’s so obvious now it’s occurred to me.
Image on left: c. John How c/o Brixton Rec User Group (image on left)
There is something sad about seeing them empty – they really would have brought a fantastic space to life.
With the current economic situation, you can understand why the gym’s management is not investing in foliage and additional maintenance. The Brixton Rec User Group apparently lobbied for them to be brought back into use during a consultation a couple of years ago, but nothing has been done.
It’s a shame really. The plants were a highly visible part of the vision of a celebrated architect (who believed in the power of good design to transform lives), and we could all probably do with the lift that they would provide.