Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre
Haworth Tompkins creates a community centerpiece that embodies function with flair.
Architects & Firms
Stamford Street, London
Three decades ago, the South Bank district in central London was no place to call home. Schools were shuttered and stores were vacated as its population plummeted to 4,000, spurring city planners to consider eliminating housing altogether to make way for large-scale commercial projects. Determined to foster neighborhood regeneration, residents banded together to form Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) — named after a road that passes through the district’s heart.
They were triumphant. In 1984, the nonprofit group used loans to purchase 13 acres and has since constructed four social housing complexes. In 1997, it commissioned the London firm Haworth Tompkins to design an affordable housing co-op and community center for a 2-acre block. The terraced residential buildings, which line three sides of a courtyard and sit atop an underground parking garage, were finished in 2001. The architects then set out to complete the quadrangle with the 40,000-square-foot Coin Street Neighborhood Centre.
It was a challenging brief. Due to cost, the client decided to divide the remaining 25,000-square-foot parcel in half and develop the project in two phases. The $12.4 million Phase 1, on the eastern portion, was to include a nursery, café, meeting rooms, and a new CSCB headquarters, along with a rentable space for a shop or restaurant. To ensure the facility could accommodate changing needs, a flexible layout was paramount. Moreover, the building needed to allude to landmarked 19th-century brick row houses yet have a bold, Modern aesthetic — and it couldn’t be intimidating or condescending, explains Iain Tuckett, CSCB director. “We quickly agreed,”he says, “that a bit of color and a sense of fun should be part of what they would need to do.”
Faced with these complex conditions, the design team opted for a basic, boxy structure with varied facades and a stripped-down interior. To add visual flair, the team relied on splashes of color, both inside and out, hiring the artist Antoni Malinowski as a consultant. Because much of the building’s poured-in-place-concrete frame is exposed, the architects insisted on using cement with a high volume of GBBS (ground granulated blast furnace slag), which gives the concrete a light, creamy complexion, explains firm director Toby Johnson.
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Andrew Groarke and Chris Hardie (Project Architects) – registered architects
Others who also worked on the project:
Environmental and Building Services Enginner: Max Fordham (www.maxfordham.com)
Cladding Consultant: Harry Montresor (www.montresorpartnership.co.uk)
Landscape: Colvin and Moggeridge (www.colmog.co.uk)
Hélène Binet (www.helenebinet.com)
Philip Vile (www.philipvile.com)
CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Metal/glass curtainwall: Wicona unitized curtain wall system.
Wood: Material – Untreated FSC rated Iroko (North Façade), Class O Lacquered Douglas Fir Plywood (Internal linings)
Glazing: generally as curtainwalling.
Pavement Lights: Luxcrete (www.luxcrete.co.uk)
Type 2: (North Façade) Double glazed with super Low-E coating (Glaverbel Panibel Top N)
Type 3: Translucent Glass Panels to North façade (as type 2 but with translucent white PVB interlayer)
Insulated-panel or plastic glazing: see curtain wall system
Metal doors: Supplier – Prima Doors UK Ltd
Wood doors: Supplier – Leaderflush and Shapland (www.leaderflushshapland.co.uk)
Special doors (sound control, X-ray, etc.): Access Conrol Gate – Argus Swing Gate System by Kaba (www.kaba.co.uk)