Crystal Palace Park Café

Chris Dyson RIBA RIAS FRSA: Architect

The picture I have chosen is of a building which we completed shortly before the pandemic kicked in.

The new café in South London’s Grade-1 listed Crystal Palace Park is a distinctive two-storey building comprising a café and terrace at ground level, and a community space at first floor level. Wrapped in half-round cedar shingles, the design references the scaled skin of the dinosaur sculptures, also Grade 1 listed, at the opposite end of the lake.

The drawing was created by tracing through an aerial photograph. Selecting is part of the eye and brain process that is unique to me and not a computer programme! I find drawing like this a therapeutic exercise as it is time consuming. I dip in and out a lot before completing the drawing

It is the result of many hours of reflection.

So, it is an iterative approach where I edit things I see, enhancing or knocking back to focus on the project and its setting in this mature landscape. The colour is only applied once the line drawing is complete to my own satisfaction, and this is done in watercolour. Again, the application of colour is a time-consuming business and something that requires careful thought.