Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
The New Generation Youth and Community Centre in Wells Park, Lewisham, London by RCKa
October 29th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: RCKa
The practice also identified the capital funding stream (having worked on the part-funded OPEN youth venue in Norwich), and were instrumental in the preparation of a funding bid to the government’s MyPlace scheme, which was subsequently selected from over 240 competing bids.
As well as the young people and local community, RCKa worked with a number of service providers in the Borough to develop a brief for the new building. These included Lewisham College, CABE, Centrepoint Homeless Charity, local youth theatres, church groups, the Wells Park Improvement Group, Lewisham PCT, the Football Association and Millwall Football Club Community Project.
A consistent structural grid runs throughout the building, defining rooms and wall openings, whilst measuring and ordering large open plan areas.
Undefined and flexible spaces are provided to encourage young people to appropriate them in creative and innovative ways, such as the entrance area which can be read as an expansive mid-landing positively connecting all building levels. A triple-height wintergarden on the east side of the building is crossed with highlevel balconies that provide important break-out space for all key uses. It acts as a thermal and physical buffer to the external multi-use games area, with surfaces left unfinished to encourage a wider range of uses than possible within the main building, whilst providing as much space as possible within the tight budget.
The main interior presents a warm palette of welcoming materials, with complimentary painted joinery and signage designs that eschew bright day-glo in lieu of a more sophisticated background colour scheme – befitting of today’s styleconscious and discerning young people.
The building’s interior is expansive and yet feels comfortable regardless of the number of inhabitants, making it suitable for use by small groups, many multiple users or huge community gatherings.
Dramatic open spaces, top-lit by large ETFE rooflights, visually connect all levels of the building with viewing points and stage-like staircases that provide a literal and metaphorical theatre for life to unfold.
Technical / Materials
RCKa is a London-based architectural practice producing consistently highquality pioneering and socially responsive architecture.
Recent recognition includes being, shortlisted for Young Architect of the Year Award 2013 (YAYA) due to be announced in December, finalist for the Best Public Building in 2013 in the New London Architecture awards, and the recipient of a Housing Design Award.
The practice has a strong portfolio of completed residential and community work, having recently completed a new photography gallery on Liverpool’s fourth grace site that the Financial Times reported as being, ‘ideally suited to the blend of
250 word Summary
Central to this vision was the creation of a democratic and flexible building that responds to the changing demands of its occupants. A dramatic central space resolves complex site levels and forms a vibrant heart, providing an event landscape that engages and welcomes visitors, and is alive with activity and opportunity.
Exposed structural timber forms and elegant coffered ceiling and wall finish, selected for its natural warmth and ability to resist post-tender D&B valueengineering. Clean lines and dramatic open spaces aid security through natural surveillance, and result in a bright and vibrant inclusive internal atmosphere.
External cladding is unified by a gently undulating profile that casts vertical shadows across curtain-like elevations. Reflective foil-faced insulation beneath polycarbonate creates a sunlight-responsive shimmering skin, beneath which is hung delicately faceted porcelain-like ultra-high performance concrete panels: an attractive, tactile and robust base to the building.
RCKa identified the potential of the site for a significant facility being aware of Lewisham’s emerging youth policy and were instrumental in securing project funding.
The practice’s aim was to create a positive place in which young people find inspiration, where they feel safe and secure, and in which they want to spend time.
This state-of-the-art building includes a climbing wall, training kitchen and café, multi-use games area, recording studios, health clinic, dance and performance spaces, teaching and conference rooms and an IT suite.
The project was shortlisted for the New London Architecture Awards “Best Public Building in 2013” and was the subject of a recent Building Study in Building Design Magazine, which praised the scheme as “a political and architectural triumph in equal measure”.