Sands End Arts & Community Centre, London – Projects
- Community & Public
- Mae Architects
- Hammersmith & Fulham Council
Sands End Arts and Community Centre – a finalist for the 2022 Stirling Prize – sets a new benchmark for what community centres can be and contribute to low-carbon engineering. Designed with Mæ Architects for Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the development consists of a cluster of new pavilions around the refurbished Edwardian Clancarty Lodge in Sands Park that provide shared, flexible spaces for art exhibitions and community events, alongside a café and a nursery, all run by a local residents’ association.
Responding to the building’s horticultural heritage and the council’s exacting sustainability requirements, Elliott Wood worked closely with Mæ to develop a full timber frame that offers a contemporary interpretation of the 19th-century glasshouses, built by the distinguished horticulturalist James Veitch, that once occupied the site. The sustainably sourced CLT frame is exposed, thus reducing carbon from plasterwork, and is lightweight, which reduces foundation requirements. It also sequesters carbon and is bolted together, so that it may be demounted and recycled in the future. The exterior bricks are made from 60% recycled materials and are used here for the first time in the UK.
The glulam and CLT system provides a comprehensive and visible structural solution that brings simplicity, efficiency and beauty to the whole design. Creating such simplicity, though – one that avoids superfluous finishes and leaves the structure exposed – requires a tremendous amount of engineering. The result is a warm, uplifting community centre that will serve generations of residents.