Architects: SVESMI/Atelier MS B.V., Rotterdam Location: Northwich, England Collaborators: Alexander Sverdlov, Gonzalo Rivaz, Francesco Vedovato, Victor Vila Grarcia, Mick van Gemert, Orcun Koken, Magnus Svensson, Maria Lisogorskaya, Durk Landman, with participation of Wessel Vreugdenhil External advisor: Felix Madrazo (IND) Surveyors: Leo de Jong (1st phase) Dooley Associates, Manchester (2nd phase) Structures: ARUP, Amsterdam – London Services: ARUP, Amsterdam – London Sustainability: Peter Mensinga, ARUP Amsterdam Landscape Architecture: Marc Ryan, Rotterdam – Toronto Project Area: 7,000 sqm Project Year: 2009
The project starts from building a dike. While shielding the lower parts of the building from the troubled waters the dike also allows for active use. The grand stair and tribunes connect to the quay of the Weaver, the Japanese garden slopes down to the office area and the wooden deck on top of the dike makes an open terrace for the restaurant.
As the new Center could be used even when flooded the dike stands for a positive attitude of the city towards the flood:
The main level is positioned on top of the dike. All of the public programs of the Cultural Centre have their address in a large open lobby. The horizontal continuity of the lobby together with its programmatic richness embrace both unity and diversity. The lobby brings forward a sense of togetherness that is essential for the community. The new living room of the city.
The white Origami roof folds over the building, the dike and the entrance square touching the river. The generous scale of the Origami Roof is there to make a new representation of the public life in the city. Making a large canopy it binds the new Centre, the city and the river into one coherent whole. From that point Northwich starts to turn its face towards the river.