Collaborative Design

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.

Two years before the 2011 riots that affected several areas within the borough, Lewisham had recognised and started to address the acute need for services, activities and support for its disconnected and disenfranchised youth population.

In September of 2009 the council appointed RCKa to design an innovative new youth venue, named The New Generation youth and community centre (TNG) by local young people following a competition.

RCKa and Lewisham sought to empower local young people from the outset, increasing their influence over the design and the delivery of services within the centre through an ongoing series of design workshops and feedback sessions.

The completed building is testament to the possibilities and opportunities inherent in a collaborative and community-centric design approach. From inception, the design process has involved – and responded to – the needs of young people and the local community who will bring the building to life. This enabled RCKa to create a building that is popular and accessible but also strikingly contemporary; with a bold simplicity that is rarely achieved in the UK.

TNG - The New Generation Youth & Community Centre

As a result, over 800 young people across the borough were consulted through schools, colleges and youth groups. This led to the formation of a young persons steering group who visited exemplar buildings with RCKa across the UK, attended urban design sessions at the Stephen Lawrence Centre, presented the scheme to the Mayor and continue to influence the governance and management of the centre. Their commitment was also recently recognised by a Make a Difference Award.

Since opening, the building has been an outstanding success with up to 200 young people attending almost every evening from across the borough to take part in both organised and informal activities.

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 MacEwen Award 2015 – Highly Commended