Archive for the ‘Public Buildings’ Category

RSPB Black Devon Wetlands with Astrid Jaekel

Posted on: October 21st, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments


A semi-enclosed shelter for visitors to Scotland’s newest nature reserve, on the Inner Forth just SouthEast of Alloa. The 38-hectare site, known as Black Devon Wetlands, is a mosaic of untouched wet grassland and wetland habitats behind the sea wall. The reserve is an important refuge for large flocks of breeding and wintering wildfowl, special to the Firth of Forth SPA.

The brief was to deliver a viewing structure with a budget of just £24,500. The structure screens people from birds on the wetlands, while providing visitors with excellent views of the reserve and shelter from the elements. The screen sits on screw-pile foundations minimising contamination in the ground. Above foundation level, the screen was entirely constructed by civic’s Andrew Siddall with RSPB staff and local volunteers.

Seared and rough sawn Larch cladding from Perthshire lends a ‘feathery’ pattern to the screen’s wall while 12 laser cut steel panels depict an interpretive calendar of typical migrating and resident bird species set against local cultural landmarks. The screen frames extraordinarily beautiful views of the reserve, but it also punctuates this remarkable landscape, drawing people into focus with wildlife, pylons and medieval towers alike.

Myatts Fields Depot Building

Posted on: October 19th, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

The project proposes to refurbish and extend in equal measure the existing buildings of the Depot at the edge of Myatts Fields in SE London. The thrifty and inventive approach taken in these proposals aims to conserve and enhance what is considered by many to be a charismatic set of facilities, and is an exercise in breathing new life into a valuable community asset on a budget.

The greenhouse was originally used to incubate shrubs for planting-out in the park, now the Depot buildings act more like an incubator for new community enterprises and activities. By tailoring the Depot facilities to better suit MFPP’s needs, MFPP aim to make these opportunities more visible as well as more accessible to local people.

civic were initially commissioned to run a series of detailed stakeholder engagement sessions to identify needs and potentials for the project, which formed the basis for a well considered brief and strategy for how the various users needs would be accommodated. The project received full planning permission early in 2016 and is awaiting final funding commitments to be put in place before construction can begin.

Towerbank Circle

Posted on: October 18th, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

civic have been instrumental in working within a group of dedicated parents and staff to develop and improve the playground at Towerbank Primary School in East Edinburgh.

The ‘Circle’ was left to the school to develop following the completion of a 9 class extension in 2013. All funding has been (and continues to be) raised through the efforts of the wider school community and the Parent Staff Association of the school.

Semi-mature trees sit as cardinal/compass points; connecting the landscape with different seasons with a Scots Pine (pointing North from the centre), Norwegian Maple, Birch and Cherry trees all providing much needed visual feature and shading during the summer months. The trees also act as a seasonal calendar, changing colour and interest throughout the year. A set of large stones were donated from one of Edinburgh University’s building sites and act as play features for the children to invent games and jump between. The central bench can accommodate a class of 30 working ‘in the round’, with stepping bays located around the perimeter to provide open ended play and much needed seating space for children and parents throughout the school day.

Rainham ROYALS Youth Centre

Posted on: June 18th, 2016 by cvc_admin No Comments
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civic have completed the refurbishment and extension of the existing Rainham ROYALS Youth Centre for Havering Council and Design for London.
The most recognisable part of the scheme is the new enterprise space, which occupies the front part of the new floor and cantilevers over the existing entrance. This overhang engages the new extension with the approach routes from the village and from the neighbouring supermarket. A glazed corner gives the young users a vantage point from which to be in control of their environment, while at the same time displaying youth activities centre-stage in a prominent, visible way.
The project was tasked with achieving a lot on a tight budget; not only in creating more usable space and facilities for the youth centre, but also in attempting to give the youth centre an inviting new identity that participates in Rainham’s changing urban profile. The project was funded through contributions from Veolia North Thames Trust, the Mayor’s Outer London Fund and Havering’s Capital Budget.

Gamlingay Eco Hub Community Centre

Posted on: June 14th, 2016 by cvc_admin No Comments

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.

Watch the YouTube video! 

“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.

Gamlingay Eco Hub Extension

Posted on: March 22nd, 2016 by Dan Jones No Comments

The remodelled Eco Hub is an exemplary sustainable community building providing the sort of facilities small communities aspire to, including a library, a large hall for sport and functions, a youth wing, a kitchen, a café servery, changing rooms, a new dance studio and a Parish Council office. The extension completes the original vision for the project by not only increasing the useable space within the building but by providing an external landscape that hugely extends the way in which the community centre can be used by the diverse local community.

The repair and adaptive reuse of the old building expands the original floor area by 70% and renders the original brick shoebox of a building all but unrecognisable. The substantial part of the old structure that has been retained has been insulated externally and faced in rain-screen cladding, as have the new works. The whole therefore reads as a single conglomerate of a distinctly barn-like scale and character.

From a standing start, having never been involved in the design process before, a loose association of residents got themselves together as a group and raised £2M (in two phases) to turn a defunct 1970’s community centre in their village into what the Department for Energy and Climate Change have called ‘one of the greenest community centres in the country’.

Potton Hall for All

Posted on: November 5th, 2015 by Dan Jones No Comments

civic have developed a series of 3 dimensional models in order to test the viability and extent to which a new community centre would be feasible as a single or 2 storey building. The models are borne out of detailed analysis of the community needs and aspirations coupled with our experience in assembling building functions that sustain continued revenue and use for rural communities such as Potton.

Our outline scheme sits within a large scale development at the edge of the town, and relates to new residential and existing sports and leisure spaces on the southern edge of Potton. The client group are currently applying for funding in order to progress the scheme.

Sandygate Square

Posted on: June 14th, 2015 by Dan Jones No Comments

Our competition winning scheme was forged in full collaboration with a Resident Design Panel; assembled by us following a successful 2 year public art residency in Burnley.

The design comprises a series of spaces that accommodate different scales of activity: an individual’s place to rest on the way home or a small group perhaps using the stage for
impromptu performances. The central square can accommodate festival scale events whilst the whole scheme is framed by the adjacent mill and Slater’s Terrace as a perfect backdrop to the canal edge and experience of the Weaver’s Triangle heritage quarter of Burnley.

The proposal is underpinned by a rolling, year-round programme of cultural events that bring diversity and animation to the square. The rejuvenation of Neptune Inn, a disused Victorian public house on the site, is proposed to spark community activity on the site and will prime the location as one of Burnley’s important civic destinations.

Arsenal Green Space

Posted on: May 19th, 2015 by Dan Jones No Comments

The open space design is the product of significant consultation with the local residents and school children alongside the Local Authority’s many works departments including the arborocultural, horticultural, safety and access officers, planning, legal, lighting and urban design teams. The key purpose of the scheme is to provide a shared amenity space for the 125 new-build residential flats, and to create a green oasis in an otherwise hard inner city landscape.

One of the key requirements from existing residents was the concept of creating a sense of domesticand organic garden in an urban setting. The design therefore contains a series of horticultural ‘fields’ and natural screens which, when established, will augment the sensory experience of the square through their changing foliage, shape, smell and structure.

Gamlingay Community Terrace

Posted on: May 19th, 2015 by Dan Jones No Comments

An ambitious and inspirational design for a new public space and community pavilion at the recreation ground on the edge of Gamlingay’s playing fields and adjacent to the Community Centre (see our Eco-Hub Project here at

The young people worked with civic Architects to come up with a core set of design principles. They have used gaming software to study how the outcome will look from all angles and perspectives, reflecting how other users of different ages and interests will see it. And above all they have looked at improving the quality of the whole space rather than at making piecemeal changes. Deborah Fox, Head of Standards and Best Practice, CABE. CABE Space selected the Forward Gamlingay! Youth design project from over 200 other proposed case studies, as a leading example of a public space project where the community is the client.