Old Student Landscape Work

Billy Banks

“So nature steals on all the works of man,
Sure conqueror she, reclaiming to herself
His perishable piles.”

Robert Southey: The Ruined Cottage, 1799.

The Billy Banks housing estate in Penarth is a contemporary ruin. Rising above Cardiff Bay on land scheduled for redevelopment, Billy Banks is a product of the Modernist taste for building functional housing. It now stands derelict and mostly abandoned. It’s residents re-housed in preparation for the estates eventual demolition.

Because of this abandonment, the estate has become overgrown. With no one to cut the grass, prune the hedges, or sweep away the leaves Nature has begun to reclaim the land. Even the concrete itself, cracked with neglect and abuse, has become home to weeds and vegetation. The land, devoid now of human life, has breathed life into itself.

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