The JW3 is a new, award-winning community centre to serve the Jewish population in London. It aims to bring together the organisation’s many and diverse activities into a single building - a meeting point for Jews and non-Jews alike. The proposition of “a house with many doors” neatly sums up a central challenge of JW3: to create an attractive place for all Londoners interested in creativity; a building that is ‘cool’ irrespective of whether it is used by grandparents or grandchildren.
The response was to equip the building with spaces for multiple activities, programmed for different audiences at different times – whether music, dance, art, writing, theatre or debate. Uniting these various spaces and activities are the ground floor piazza, café and restaurant – a forum for all to mix and to meet. Fourteen apartments in a ‘campanile’ tower provided welcome revenue for the charity, and have impressive views over north London.
The building has been designed to be easy to navigate, accessible to all, and very environmentally friendly, with natural ventilation, a brown roof to encourage biodiversity, rainwater harvesting and solar panels. JW3 has achieved a ‘BREEAM Excellent’ rating.
JW3 uses a restrained palette of materials, with patinated brass bringing a warmth to the exterior of the building where it contrasts with cast stone and brickwork – all durable materials that are common to the area and found in London’s most appealing civic buildings. This is continued internally where brass details have been used in tactile locations such as the ironmongery, handrails and the main bar.
Careful consideration was put into the finish of the brass throughout the building, with particular attention to the external cladding. A project-specific finish was developed with Italian specialists, utilising a combination of chemical patination for texture and a wax topcoat to enhance the depth of colour.