Highgate Newtown Community Centre

In 2014 RCKa was appointed to help Camden Council investigate ways in which the long-term future of Highgate Newtown Community Centre could be secured through potential development of the site. We were selected through a competitive process based on our experience of public engagement and track record of achieving planning permission for innovative housing and community projects on challenging urban sites.

Highgate Newtown Community Centre has been subject to the most comprehensive community engagement process we have ever undertaken. Once described as the ‘most complex and politically-charged sites in the borough’, the success of the project hinged on the practices ability to channel information from myriad stakeholders and over one hundred active organisations.

“The Camden Design Review Panel applauds the ambition of the scheme and level of care and consideration given to the design. Overall the scheme appears successful in its context, and promises much improved community facilities, and high quality residential development, together with a welcome new public route through the site”
Camden Design Review Panel

Expanding on the traditional role of the architect, we created bespoke in-house protocols and processes to channel and record information in order to aid the design development. Public Consultations, one on one interviews, workshops and events were held prior to planning in order to shape the briefing process and develop stronger relationships with the community. From this process we were able to identify key stakeholders who formed a community champions group, providing tours of local buildings, magazine type documents, bespoke websites, surveys and meetings at varying locations and times to help shape proposals through a rigorous and organised process.

Community consultation poster

Client: Camden Council
Construction Value: £16.5m
Completion: 2020
Location: Highgate, London
Illustrations by: RCKa and Darcstudio