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Kinning Park Complex, Glasgow

Words:
RIAS Jury

Community-first approach sees New Practice maximise local benefit and social value in a cost-effective, 2024 RIAS Award-winning refurbishment

Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott

2024 RIAS Award

Kinning Park Complex, Glasgow 
New Practice for Kinning Park Complex SCIO 
Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 1,702m

Originally built as an extension to the former Lambhill Street School in 1910, the three-storey Kinning Park Community Centre on Glasgow’s Southside is a shining example of how a handsome building can be inventively repurposed and brought back to life for wider community benefit.

Architect New Practice collaborated closely with Kinning Park Complex to rescue the building and develop a community-led brief. This focused on – and successfully synthesised – six key areas: accessibility, creativity, usability, sustainability, viability and identity.

  • Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
    Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
  • Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
    Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
  • Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
    Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
  • Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
    Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
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The building has a rich and well-documented history. In 1976, it became the Kinning Park Neighbourhood Centre. Run by Strathclyde Regional Council, this provided local residents with vital space for gathering and shared learning. In 1996, the council decided to close the facility and local mothers, who relied on the building for childcare, joined forces with local campaigners to occupy the building for 55 days. As a result, the council changed its mind and use was restored to the community. In 2015, thanks to The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, the centre was able to buy the building and secured funding to create a warm and safe place for the community.

New Practice’s designs stripped back the late-20th century attritions, re-opening the main circulation space that contains a spectacular, double-helix staircase (originally one stair for boys and the other for girls). This move enables visibility and natural surveillance while allowing natural light to filter from the existing rooflight, creating a joyful and colour-filled heart to the centre.

  • Credit: Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
  • Credit: Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
  • Credit: Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
  • Credit: Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
  • Credit: Kinning Park Complex. Credit: Will Scott
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At each floor level, spaces were judiciously opened-up, uncovered and re-connected alongside new spaces inserted on half-landings. Each floor is colour-coded, which de-institutionalises the building and gives personality and identity. The architect has created what it calls ‘baggy space’, which allows for a range of uses including prayer, breastfeeding, a quiet space for neurodiverse building users and break out/thinking room. At the same time, the project includes a drop-in cafe, events and learning opportunities for conferences, sports classes and cultural events.

Commending the architect on its ‘community-first’ approach, the judges noted how the process of careful listening had led to a cost-effective and discreet series of interventions that demonstrably maximises social value and community benefit.

See the rest of the RIAS winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

Credits

Structural engineer Narro
Environmental/M&E engineer Max Fordham
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Armour Construction Consultants
Project management James Martin Associates
Principal designer Hunter Kirkpatrick

Credit: New Practice
Credit: New Practice
Credit: New Practice
Credit: New Practice
Credit: New Practice
Credit: New Practice

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