A very urban challenge

James Forryan
Monday 07 Sep 2009

East Architecture's proposals for a positive community hub in New Cross Gate

Somerville Adventure Playground in New Cross Gate South East London evolved over three decades of use and appropriation by local users - it is like a holiday island, surprising, hidden, colourful. In 2006 NDC New Cross Gate with Somerville Adventure Playground stakeholders commissioned a new playground building to complement the open space and provide new facilities and internal spaces.

The tough urban environment of New Cross Gate and experience of the shortcomings of other local buildings demanded a robust, near indestructible building. The building was designed of in situ concrete with triple glazed windows and a metal clad roof. The internal spatial configuration allowed for ‘rough’ uses, while the rigour of the building fabric and overlooking by staff from mezzanine levels provided a safe environment for the users.

The building fronted onto Queens Road, giving it and the playground itself a new, higher profile, presence in New Cross. A 20 meter long opening to the playground was designed with a family of folding, sliding and pivoting doors enables close contact between the inside and the outside, and making it possible to use the building as a stage.

Sustainability was key to the project; environmental responsibility and low maintenance. The in situ concrete structure incorporated insulative materials and ground source heat pumps were proposed for below the playground to provide heating for the building. The robust building fabric achieved the very low maintenance requirements demanded by client.

The building received planning consent in 2006 and was tendered but funding streams failed and the building was never realised.

Key Facts:

United Kingdom
Urban design

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