Our main priority is helping clients make great architecture that serves their needs and responds in a vital way to its context and cultural surroundings. In order to do this and to further the studios own knowledge base we invest in a wide programme of research which enables us to be inventive and to find new and sometimes unexpected solutions to the problems that we are posed.
We work in collaboration with like-minded consultants in order to further our thinking and skill level and since our inception, we have always looked to develope concepts grounded by good research that have a light touch on the planet, are low in carbon and energy-use. We look to our research to help us and our clients mitigate the impact of climate change.
Ham Close Community Centre
The Ham Community Centre forms part of the overall regeneration of Ham Close in Richmond. Working collaboratively alongside the client team which includes Hill Group UK, RHP Group and Richmond Council and our partners at BPTW Architects, LUC Landscape Architects and Sphere 25, the overall project seeks to provide the delivery of 452 new homes (49% of which will be affordable), new community facilities and public realm improvements.
WR-AP’s contribution to the scheme includes a new community centre, which has the opportunity to become a new civic beacon for the wider community in which it sits. The existing Youth Centre currently operated by Achieving For Children (AfC) is well-used however, is no longer fit for purpose and it suffers from notable maintenance costs. As such, the new bespoke design aims to provide multifunctional rooms and spaces for a variety of activities. The primary driver for the accommodation within the facility will be to replace the existing accommodation of the Youth Centre, with more modern and suitably sized spaces to fit the current and changing needs of AfC. Alongside the needs of the current Youth Centre, the facility will also re-provide and improve on the accommodation currently used by the body TAG (Youth club for disabled young people). The new community centre will also be open for use by other community groups based locally in the area so that much of the accommodation within the centre will be multi-used and multi-occupied at different times of the day.
Architecturally, the design of the building responds to the rich heritage of Ham. The scheme employs the idea of open social spaces within the public realm, specifically loggias. The typology of loggias has historically and today, remained a signifier of social space, as such these semi-public / semi private spaces allow for opportunities for interaction. The chosen materiality and tectonic expression of the new centre, such as white architectural masonry blockwork, green brick arched loggia and yellow fenestration aim to form a building type that feels grounded in its location yet civic and modern. The community centre will be sustainable, both in terms of construction and also in terms of functionality and longevity. The new building will be fully accessible with an inclusive design, improving the experience of users, particularly for the young and elderly.
In order to submit a planning application alongside our collaborators, the wr-ap team undertook over twenty consultation/engagement events with various stakeholders and community members to ensure that we have given our best endeavors to ensure the proposals become an integral part of the overall masterplan and local community. The project has recently been submitted to planning, with construction expected to commence in QTR 1 2023 (planning approval dependent).
"WR-AP have been working with Richmond Council over the last couple of years on two community led projects. Throughout this period whilst they have exhibited innovative design excellence with their proposals, they have also shown great skill in managing and engaging with a large range of stakeholders on each of the projects to ensure we have gained buy-in from the community and end-users alike. It is this set of skills that sets them apart from others".
Date of completion: 2025
Total Cost: Confidential
Gross internal Floor Area: 200 sqm
Client: Hill - Richmond Housing Partnership - Richmond Council - Hill Group
Planning Consultant: Sphere 25
Structural Engineer: Jubb
Energy and sustainability: Energist
Fire Consultant: Affinity