Competition winner plans garden for new Centre for Sport and Health

July 2021

Image for press release - Garden Design concept by Writtle University College postgraduate Garden Design student Lizzie Cannon

Writtle University College is pleased to name the winner of its garden design competition. Lizzie Cannon's inspirational 'Writtle Mindfulness Gardens' will be created alongside the new Centre for Sport and Health.

The Centre, which is currently under construction, will support human health and wellbeing while offering a wide range of scientific equipment and research opportunities for students, academics and professional partners.

Students were asked to submit ideas for a peaceful, intimate, sustainable space, suitable for use by individuals or groups. The garden was expected to incorporate green infrastructure and water.

Lizzie, who is studying the Master of Landscape Architecture (Conversion Course), submitted a detailed design with a fountain, grass walkway, fragrant herb garden and pergola for group sessions. Sensory areas feature tactile and fragrant planting, while a semi-enclosed patio will be surrounded by shrubs to create a private, quiet space.

She said: "After a conversation with a good friend who practices mindfulness and meditation, I had the idea to create a series of outdoor rooms to facilitate a journey through different states of mind."

"The Qi Fountain Garden promotes flowing energy with opportunities for group body movement such as Yoga and Thai Chi. The 'Sweep Away Passage' enables an 'unloading' before entering the Enclaves, with its intimate sensory areas for quiet reflection. The design is influenced by ideas around Biophilia (an innate human connection with the natural world) and Wabi Sabi (a Japanese aesthetic that celebrates transience, impermanence, and imperfection)."

Head of Sport, Dr Greg Deacon, said: "Lizzie Cannon's competition-winning design adds an important aspect to the new Centre for Sport and Health. Staff were really impressed by her fantastic plans and feel that the new Mindfulness Gardens will offer students, staff and athletes a calm, outdoor space for quiet reflection and wellbeing group activities."

Work on the garden will begin in September 2021. Students and staff interested in assisting with the project should contact greg.deacon@writtle.ac.uk.