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.
Becketts Atelier is a new re-furbished house in the woods, remodeled from an old timber-framed studio positioned on the edge of the Greenbelt in Surrey. The new building serves as an addition to a main five bedroom dwelling in over three acres of Bluebells and woodland, a stunningly modernist house in an area of ‘Arts and Crafts’ mansions.
When the client originally bought the property, it had been semi-occupied by a mother and son for over twenty years, who emigrated to France. They had used the space as a workshop, artist’s studio and living quarters while the main house was under construction, and had also used it to prototype construction details for the main building. The main house was published, shortly after it was finished, in Homes and Gardens, May 1968.
When the client engaged Civic, they had already skilfully procured planning permission to convert the cabin into a two-bedroom single-storey dwelling. This is no mean feat on the edge of the Greenbelt. Civic then developed the detailed proposals for the Atelier within the parameters of the planning permission, developing the design of the internal plan and the design of the building’s relationship to its surrounding landscape, in particular.
The main contractor was chosen for his experience of working with timber, linked to constructing ‘garden buildings’ rather than dwellings. Close collaboration between the builder, the client and Civic during a builder-led ‘on site’ phase has meant that it has been possible to achieve a really elegant, simple dwelling on a very modest capital budget.
Tidworth Development Trust had the idea to build a community resource center after conversations with their Management Committee concluded that… ‘there is no community heart in Tidworth, there’s nothing for the whole community.’ The new Community Resource Centre was seen as an opportunity to create a community heart for Tidworth that was run wholly for the benefit of local people.
‘The building will provide services that aren’t currently available in Tidworth, a place for people to use to hang out so there’s a focus for the community’.
We are absolutely delighted to have won an RIBA East Regional Award for the Gamlingay EcoHub, and a special additional award for Community Architecture.
The original refurbishment won an Environmental Excellence Award at the Architect of the Year Awards in 2012. We have just completed the project with a new youth wing and extensive landscaping, fulfilling the community’s ambitions for their building.
For more information on the project click here.
civic have been fortunate to win several awards for our community engaged architecture and public art projects. We contribute to journals and research papers and have posted a selection of articles and awards in these pages to reflect the range of our interests and activities.
civic have developed a portfolio of projects that represent community participation in public arts projects. Andy leads the arts projects and has built on a strong background of collaborative arts practise coupled with his particular skills as an illustrator and visual artist.
Many of our public art projects involve widespread community engagement during the creative brief writing stage and in the detailed delivery of projects. There is a direct hand that the public have in shaping the works and in steering their locations and character. In our latest work for the new health centre in Kilsyth, over 100 panels have been ‘written’ by participants on the installed sculptures: making the work a product of time, place and people.
civic are actively developing a range of residential projects – all of which are carefully and sensitively designed to reflect the client’s needs and ambitions. We have completed a variety of extensions and conversions and are expanding a portfolio of projects that engage with larger scale residential developments and their associated public spaces.
Our Arsenal Green Space for example was developed in close participation with the existing residents and tenants, whilst our scheme for the Peabody Small Projects Panel was developed with a particular view to activating the public space around an urban-infill housing scheme.
We bring a wealth of knowledge to community projects through our experiences in stakeholder engagement and in particular our explicit knowledge of how to assemble community centres as adaptable, responsive and income generating civic buildings.
We were awarded BD’s Architect of the Year Award for Environmental Excellence in 2012, and two RIBA Awards for our Gamlingay Eco Hub in 2016. Dan sits on Design Council CABE’s Design Review Panels for Oxford and Bexley and contributes as a Built Environment Expert on community asset transfer, housing design quality and community rights issues. We are featured in the Architecture Foundation’s book ‘New Architects 3: Britain’s Best Emerging Architects’.