Working in partnership with the community, we designed a new, self-sustaining activity and outreach centre to serve children and young families within the Blakenhall district, as well as provide a space for social and health work advice.
With limited capital and operations budget, Green Rivers Community Association working in partnership with the national New Deal for the Communities’ Interventions Programme and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council wanted to create an aspirational new community activity and outreach centre.
Working in collaboration with the community was key to this project. It meant we were able to consider alternative perspectives, allow the team to think beyond the physical constraints of a building or space and concentrate on the tangible impact our work can make.
We met with the clients, user groups, local authorities and consultants to progressively test, refine and review our designs against the brief.
Running workshops within a designated regeneration area we were also privileged to witness growing aspirations for the local area.
As the site was surrounded by a post-war housing estate, low-lying bungalows and the Walsall canal, it was important we developed a design that had a low visual impact.
With ongoing operational budgetary restrictions, we designed the building to have durability and low energy as the focus of the design so that it would become and remain self-sustaining.
Our waste free, zero carbon thermally earth bound design obtained unanimous planning committee support. The plans had high levels of thermal insulation by including a green roof planted with native grasses and wildflower species to provide additional habitat for local wildlife, as well as utilising rainwater run off.
Paul Rowlands, New Deal for Communities Chief Executive, said:
“The project is ideally fitting with our intentions to lead aspirational regeneration in the most deprived neighbourhoods through high quality, considerate and thoughtful solutions.”