Havering youth centre gets £4.7m Myplace green light

A £4.7m youth centre has been given the go-ahead in the London Borough of Havering under the Big Lottery Fund’s Myplace scheme. It aims to become the first carbon-neutral building in the borough.

Designed by Jacobs Architecture, the building’s ‘caterpillar’ shape has been proposed with change and development in mind. Now it has received planning permission, work will start on the centre in June. Other Myplace schemes set to open this year include the New Horizon Youth Centre, designed by Adam Khan Architects, Myplace Chesterfield by Peter Koyander, the Shoeburyness Youth Centre by Camal Architects, Minehead Eye by Matt Kingsley Architects, and the Sutton Life Centre by Curl La Tourelle.

The total investment in Myplace schemes now stands at £273m, provided by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, and delivered by the Big Lottery Fund, with 70 separate projects now confirmed.

Jacobs Architecture was appointed to The Havering Centre project in December 2009, having pitched against four other groups on the council’s framework.

The architectural practice developed a brief with stakeholders set to occupy space within the building, including a local radio station and the Prospects graduate careers centre.

Young people from the area were consulted on the plans, and they selected the caterpillar design following a series of meetings.

Jacobs Architecture project architect Shelley Smith says, ‘I met about 15 teenagers and worked the design through with them. The caterpillar came out of 3D modelling – but it is also a metaphor for what it provides [change and development].’ Jacobs’ sustainability engineers will ‘maximise the site’s potential’ by building it with the lowest-possible carbon footprint, Smith adds.

The Havering Centre, located in Harold Hill, will include natural ventilation, natural day lighting, high insulation levels and solar panels.

It will feature a juice bar, café, crêche, dance and music performance space, recording studio, bike workshop, information service and computer suite.

The performance hall which uses gluelam timber to create ‘double-height’ interior spaces, will tie in with the building’s façade, Smith says.

An ‘IT hall’, situated in the north façade, will maximise potential daylight without overheating the space, as the south side of the building will catch most of the sunlight.

Last month, eight projects were confirmed by the Big Lottery Fund in a final, £31m round of investment. Myplace in Luton, Spotlight Youth Centre in Tower Hamlets, Project Inspiration at Edmonton Youth Hub and The Orangebox Young People’s Centre in Halifax are among those going ahead.

MyPlace Backstory

November 2008 – £62m funding was announced by Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, and awarded to 21 projects which were fast-tracked and are now approaching completion
March 2009 – an additional £180m was awarded to a further 41 projects
May 2009 – £30m was set aside for projects located within deprived communities
December 2009 – a final eight projects were awarded £31m

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