The Gamlingay Community Centre is the first community centre in the country to incorporate three different passive technologies without fossil fuel backup, including photovoltaics to produce electricity and solar water heaters and a ground source heat array to provide heating and hot water.
The building provides the sort of facilities small communities aspire to, including a library, a large hall for sport and functions, a kitchen, a café/servery, changing rooms, a new dance studio and a Parish Council office. With additions to the front creating a more welcoming entrance, foyer and office, and a timber framed dance hall at the east end, the centre has increased its floor area by 60% and further enhanced its sustainability credentials by its re-use of the existing building, instead of demolition. The design considers the typology of the local region, pitching the new centre between the scale of the domestic house and an agricultural shed. The colours and material qualities of the scheme also draw on the local context and relate the building to the natural, rural environment.
“Despite its long gestation, the Eco Hub feels like a project of striking relevance to our present situation. If any building suggests what the architecture of Cameron’s Big Society might look like, this surely is it.”
Ellis Woodman, Executive Editor of Building Design.