A four-sided story

Thursday 23 Jun 2011

HawkinsBrown completes new civic hub for Northamptonshire town

Won in competition in 2004, the Corby Cube combines a diverse programme of uses into a new paradigm for civic architecture. Maximising its central location at the heart of a new town square the Corby Cube forms the centrepiece of the former steel town's ambitious regeneration. The building's complex array of uses are arranged around an internal street enabling access for all, and composed into a coherent form with four 'live' elevations articulating the uses within. The competition brief originally called for two buildings; a civic hub and an arts centre creating a gateway between the town centre and historic woodland beyond.

HawkinsBrown's innovative response combined these two briefs into a single building. This proposal provided multiple benefits in terms of sharing facilities and infrastructure to realise savings in capital and running costs, fostering synergetic relationships between users and the creation of a site for future redevelopment. The primary functions of the brief include a 450-seat theatre, studio spaces, foyers and back-of-house spaces, public library, café, customer services centre, register office, council chamber and members' suite, chief executive's suite, meeting spaces and informal gathering spaces.

The building achieved a BREEAM rating of 'excellent' and arranges these diverse functions within a reinforced concrete structure that is wrapped in a skin of striking glazing. Bigger on the inside, the public uses are woven together by an open circulation route that gradually ascends through the building's multiple levels and culminates in a planted roof terrace offering views of the town and wider context. Completed in October 2010, the total internal area of the building is 7,700 sq m and the construction cost was £35m.

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United Kingdom

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