HawkinsBrown completes 21st century civic hub and arts centre in Northants
HawkinsBrown’s striking glazed Corby Cube, the focal point of a major regeneration programme to revitalise the former steel making town in Northants, UK has completed and is now open to the public. Won in international competition in 2004, the Corby Cube combines a diverse programme of civic and arts uses into a new model for civic architecture.
Maximising its central location at the heart of a new town square, the building’s array of uses are arranged around an internal ‘promenade architecturale’ composed into a coherent glazed cube form with four ‘live’ elevations, each articulating the uses contained within. Commissioned by Corby Borough Council, the Corby Cube is part of a wider regeneration strategy driven by North Northants Development Company to revitalise Corby as a vibrant, confident and attractive town to live, work, visit, shop and do business.
Not since Corby’s expansion in 1950 when it was afforded New Town status has the town benefitted from such investment. Recent developments include the arrival of the town’s first railway station and the opening of a new Olympic sized public swimming pool on the site adjacent to the Cube.
The two buildings sit within a new landscaped town square that links the former town centre to historic woodland in the West and promises to become the new social heart of Corby town centre. At a time of spending reviews and central funding cuts the Cube represents a model for how local authorities can address financial challenges through the consolidation and streamlining of their services.
The competition brief originally called for two buildings; a civic hub and an arts centre, which together would mark a gateway between the town centre and the parkland beyond. HawkinsBrown’s innovative response was to combine these two briefs into a single building. This proposal provided multiple benefits in terms of sharing common facilities and infrastructure to realise savings in capital and running costs, the fostering of synergetic relationships between the various users, whilst also freeing up a further site for redevelopment.