Residents' group gets the common home it's been seeking
AOC Architecture for London Borough of Southwark and Nunhead’s Voice, London
This 307m2 public building, the Green, is the result of a long process of teasing out what was needed by the local community. AOC facilitated a co-design process with Nunhead’s Voice, a local residents’ group that was to run the centre. Ed Hammond, board member of Nunhead’s Voice, describes the process: ‘AOC’s involvement started at a difficult time. Relationships between us and the council were at an extremely low ebb. As a group we had an inchoate sense of what we wanted the centre to do. Activities which might have happened at the old centre might not be needed at the new one. AOC helped us not only with the design but in linking the design to our emerging business plan, helping us to understand how and where we would need to compromise. It would have been very easy for it to have looked like an awkward mess inside and out, but the final design looked as good on paper as it now does in reality.'
The Green hosts a diverse range of activities and publics. Hatha yoga, New Wave Taekwondo and under 5s football happily co-exist under the same roof at the same time. Flexible programming allows single uses to take over the whole centre.
A year since opening, the centre provides a civic presence on Nunhead Green that declares its identity and contributes to the completion of the ‘missing’ fourth side of the space. The new building has provided the local community with a series of distinct spaces in which to carry out a diverse programme of activities that had struggled to find a local home.