Text description provided by the architects. Working closely with Lewisham Council, its partners and young people, RCKa developed proposals to satisfy a funding brief for a "world-class" building; from the use of innovative sustainable construction and high-quality design to extensive participation of young people, whose involvement continued through the detailed design, construction, management and governance of the building and services.
Central to this vision was the creation of a democratic and flexible building that responds to the changing demands of its occupants. A dramatic central space resolves complex site levels and forms a vibrant heart, providing an event landscape that engages and welcomes visitors, and is alive with activity and opportunity.
Exposed structural timber forms and elegant coffered ceiling and wall finish, selected for its natural warmth and ability to resist post-tender D&B value-engineering. Clean lines and dramatic open spaces aid security through natural surveillance, and result in a bright and vibrant inclusive internal atmosphere.
External cladding is unified by a gently undulating profile that casts vertical shadows across curtain-like elevations. Reflective foil-faced insulation beneath polycarbonate creates a sunlight-responsive shimmering skin, beneath which is hung delicately faceted porcelain-like ultra-high performance concrete panels: an attractive, tactile and robust base to the building.
RCKa identified the potential of the site for a significant facility being aware of Lewisham's emerging youth policy and were instrumental in securing project funding.
The practice's aim was to create a positive place in which young people find inspiration, where they feel safe and secure, and in which they want to spend time.