RCKa was commissioned by Hammersmith & Fulham Council to work with the local community and design a new mixed-use workspace and community food hub within the Edward Woods Estate. The Nourish Hub replaces a vacant post-office to provide new community facilities where learning about healthy eating and cooking food – as a common, social and community activity – can connect diverse cultures, teach meaningful skills and bring people together.
Funded by the GLA the Hub offers opportunities in the form of employment in catering to volunteering, skill-sharing, and cooking classes. UKHarvest – a not-for-profit charity on a mission to eliminate hunger and food waste through education will manage the hub building capacity and resilience within the local community.
“We wanted the most innovative design we could get, which was also of the highest quality. RCKa were incredible during the tender process and have lived up to their commitments all the way through the process. It’s been a real joy to work with them. The most important thing that they have done is listen. They really tuned into not only the aspirations for the hub but the practicalities. They have led this design process with integrity, professionalism and passion. They also bring fun to the project.”Yvonne Thomson, CEO of UK Harvest
RCKa’s ambition was to involve local people from the very outset and to empower residents to take ownership of the project in the long term. To help raise awareness of the proposals we held a community paint & planting day, during which the tired security shutters were given a new lease of life. RCKa worked with graphic designer Bandiera to design a colourful mural for the shutters, with local people helping to apply this to the vacant shopfront. The activity on site encouraged passers-by to stop and speak with the team, providing opportunities for conversations with residents and helping contact the wider community.
Partnering with a local youth centre we put on two branding workshops during which the basic principles of graphic design were taught to young people from the local area. Ingredients were sourced from the local Shepherds Bush Market and participants were asked to get creative with the vegetables available. The designs that the young people created were then used to create graphics for the interior of the Nourish Hub.
This is UKHarvest’s first permanent space, but the design draws on years of experience. The Hub is welcoming, incorporating expansive glazing and servery windows that allow direct views into the kitchen and for the chefs to lean out and talk to passers-by. At either end of the main dining space two kitchens offer different functionality – a fully fitted catering kitchen for professional training and batch cooking; and a teaching kitchen which has a more domestic look and feel, with cooking stations for people of all ages and abilities. The floor finish is a low-maintenance concrete and the tiling and paintwork are colourful yet avoid flashiness.
LBHF has the highest levels of food insecurity in London and the hub addresses this and helps to create new food behaviours. In 4 months, over 4300 meals were delivered throughout the neighbourhood, 200 meals were served daily on site and over 250 children have participated in educational activities. Looking forward, the Hub will foster active citizenship and collaboration to create a more cohesive and sustainable community.
“It is a smart idea, tackling hunger, isolation and the unnecessary waste of food, space and human potential. And with high streets in decline across the country, Nourish Hub offers a model that might be adopted elsewhere”Chris Foges, Contributing Editor, RIBA Journal
LB Hammersmith & Fulham
New London Awards Community Prize 2021
The Mayor’s Prize 2021
Inner Circle Consulting
Francisco Ibanez Hantke