Realising Value

TNG Youth & Community Centre

RCKa’s £3.5m new-build Youth & Community Venue in Lewisham, London, was officially opened to the public in June 2013. Funded by the last Labour government’s MyPlace scheme, the centre provides a range of vocational, leisure and support services for the young people of Lewisham.

RCKa played a key role in the genesis of the project, having identified the full extent of local authority site ownership and the opportunity to replace a structurally unsound facility with one wholly aligned with emerging youth provision policy.

The practice also identified the capital funding stream (having worked on the part-funded OPEN youth venue in Norwich), and were instrumental in the preparation of a funding bid to the government’s MyPlace scheme, which was subsequently selected from over 240 competing bids.

"a political and architectural triumph in equal measure."
Building Design Magazine

As well as the young people and local community, RCKa worked with a number of service providers in the Borough to develop a brief for the new building. These included Lewisham College, CABE, Centrepoint Homeless Charity, local youth theatres, church groups, the Wells Park Improvement Group, Lewisham PCT, the Football Association and Millwall Football Club Community Project.

Working closely with Lewisham Council, its partners and young people, RCKa developed proposals to satisfy a funding brief for a “world-class” building; from the use of innovative sustainable construction and high-quality design to extensive participation of young people, whose involvement continued through the detailed design, construction, management and governance of the building and services.

Central to this vision was the creation of a democratic and flexible building that responds to the changing demands of its occupants. A dramatic central space resolves complex site levels and forms a vibrant heart, providing an event landscape that engages and welcomes visitors, and is alive with activity and opportunity.

Undefined and flexible spaces are provided to encourage young people to appropriate them in creative and innovative ways, such as the entrance area which can be read as an expansive mid-landing positively connecting all building levels.

A triple-height wintergarden on the east side of the building is crossed with high-level balconies that provide important break-out space for all key uses. It acts as a thermal and physical buffer to the external multi-use games area, with surfaces left unfinished to encourage a wider range of uses than possible within the main building, whilst providing as much space as possible within the tight budget.

Client Organisation: London Borough of Lewisham
Construction Value: £3.5 million
Completion: June 2013
Location: Lewisham, London
Awards: RIBA National Building Award 2014 – Winner
Architizer A+ Awards – Typology 2014 – Winner
RIBA Journal Award 2015 – Highly Commended