Cloister Garden, Deansfield Primary School, Eltham

Whilst studying architecture at the University of Greenwich, Mark Hoare initiated a project at Deansfield School to transform a tarmac playground into a contemplative garden.

Mark worked with students, pupils at the school, parents, and teachers to develop design ideas which could be built principally by volunteers. He also led the fundraising effort. Interfaith and multicultural understanding were considered particularly important at the school, and the built design was a cloister garden fusing elements from different religious traditions.

Young people from the age of 7 to 24 were involved in the project. The majority of the volunteers had no previous construction experience.

The project was awarded a major award in the National School Gardens competition organized by REEP, ACE and the National Trust. The garden was opened in 2004 by the Prince of Wales.