Everyone was sticking their hands up for a place in this community centre. The council as usual only had a limited budget but wanted to accommodate as many of the interest groups as possible including a new library! many of which were conflicting uses, and to cap it all of, the site was to be entered from two opposing directions but only to have only one central reception point !
A sloping site, and Accessibility being an essential requirement, the building was designed with a basement car-park and lift up to the main floor. This gave the maximum use of the site. However the costings came in too high for this solution and it was then decided to scrape the library and basement car-park which then added to the complexities of access on the limited space available the site provided.
However the most difficult problems often produce amazing results ….. this building was also designed to be a Passive Solar solution to Heating and Cooling issues. Aspects of the design which facilitated this was the north facing courtyards which many of the rooms could open onto, high clerestory opening windows for exhausting warm air, The ability to cross ventilate various spaces and lots of internal thermal mass to moderate temperature differentials.
The vast array of user groups was facilitated by a range of inter-connecting rooms all opening off a central circulation space. This circulation space was turned into a lovey space to be in its own right with the use of natural light penetrating from above, the use of softly curving walls and connection to the outside courtyards.
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This post was written by richard van dorp