The existing 1A Community centre on Laystall Street in southeast Holborn was completely transformed by internal re-construction and new additions. It now serves its ethnically diverse community with spaces and activities for all ages including a SureStart nursery.
The multiple client for the project was Camden Council and a steering group that included SureStart Kings Cross, a number of local ethnic community support and resource groups. Compromise was reached through thoughtful consultation and design initiative.
All existing spaces have been transformed. The gently curved wall in the SureStart nursery, for example, defines play spaces and entrances to smaller rooms. SureStart offices and upper level play terraces have been added by new construction.
An innovative use of expanded metal cladding gives the new play area enclosures a striking presence that relates sympathetically with the existing Edwardian building. The facades of the existing Edwardian building, hard up to the pavement, have been restored, with new joinery and brickwork repairs. The previous narrow corner entrance door, left as a remnant of the Edwardian streetscape, has been replaced by an adjacent, wide, accessible entrance which gives a glimpse to passers-by of the activities within.
Space at the 1A Community Centre is limited and therefore the scheme relies on the sharing of space and facilities, with careful timetabling to ensure that all rooms are used to a maximum efficiency.