Having procured the Spa Fields project in July 2005, construction started during Aug 2006 and was completed in Dec 2007.
Standing nine metres high and enveloping the existing youth club facility and public toilet on site, the copper clad timber framed pyramid structure was constructed on a budget of £270,000.
A rationale for the bespoke use of the cladding material was for the poetic qualities of copper.
Our work is intensely contextual, process driven and endeavours to be innovative, sensitive and functional.
Architecture is partly based on the sense of touch. We believe the materials used in architecture are equivalent of notes for the composer. Our interest lies in finding new ways to put the notes together to achieve a specific final sound that complements the location.
* Exemplary method of reviving redundant park building, of which there are many hundreds in the UK. Delivered with and by local young people and built to excellent standards and highly original designed by a student architect.
* By transforming a former no-go area into a popular park, the project shows how small isolated buildings in parks can reverse anti-social behavior problems.
The community building in Spa Fields, Clerkenwell is the result of a successful collaboration between client, project manager, contractor, designer and the general public.
Known affectionately as The Hut, the rationale for the building was to transform an unloved park toilet block into a community hub. The building triangulates with and complements the modernist architecture of the neighbouring Grade 1 Lubetkin health centre and the Grade 2 Italian basilica style church.
The shape and use of the poetic qualities of a copper spire is an ecclesiastical reference.
Set within the creative hub of Clerkenwell, Spa Fields is one of few substantial green spaces in the locality. Flanked by fashionable Exmouth Market to the north and post-War social housing to the south and east, the park building forms a key strand of the EC1 New Deal for Communities (NDC) Public Open Space Strategy. Now a popular lunchtime spot for office workers, Spa Fields had previously fallen out of use and was considered a no-go area due to fears of crime.
Adjacent to Spa Green Estate designed by Berthold Lubetkin and the Brutalist Finsbury Estate, the copper clad structure contributes towards the creation of a public space for all in the district.
In terms of building use, the proposal aims to maintain the existing use of the building as a youth centre on the ground floor. The first floor, previously the roof of the building used for burning out stolen scooters, now houses office space for Islington park rangers.
Careful consultation with local people defined the brief for the building with the help of a CABE advisor. Responding to this consultation, the building offers young people a place to hang out and community groups an opportunity to host meetings and events.
Specialist copper contractor: Albany Brent Ltd
Main contractor: Albany Construction Ltd