The Trust's two new projects, Sporting Club Thamesmead and The Link Thamesmead are included in this year’s annual Open House London weekend (21-22 September), a highly anticipated fixture in the capital’s cultural calendar.
Open House London is a truly city-wide celebration of the buildings, places and spaces where we live and work and is a unique opportunity to see, explore and learn about London’s amazing architecture and design over one weekend.
The Link Thamesmead, which can be found in Belvedere Road (under the Harrow Manor Way flyover), Thamesmead, SE2 9BS, is an innovative, colourful community project providing a variety of activities for young people and utilising under-valued space in arches below a highway. Architect-led tours are being offered on Sunday 22 September between 10am-1pm. Please note The Link Thamesmead staff will be only too happy to show guests around during the same times on Saturday 21 September but without the architect.
Architect Haydn Jones from Saville Jones Architects who oversaw the design of both buildings said: “The Link offers an exciting opportunity to provide much needed community facilities to the Thamesmead population.
“The project utilises previously dead space under the arches of a flyover in the centre of Thamesmead. The physical “Arches” space is defined by the supporting concrete structure created by the fly-over. This outlines a series of simple, ‘non-spaces’ located under the road.
“This undeveloped land typically found in urban areas is often neglected and abused. However, it presents a unique opportunity in which to explore both the needs of the community and how their requirements can be fundamentally embodied in this facility. To maximise the use of such an area and utilise the structure for shelter is a beautifully simple sustainable concept.
“The design has explored how to turn this physical ‘hard’ space into a carefully defined, tangible building focused on youth facilities. The design therefore is bold and colourful using materials which are ‘softer’ than the concrete which encloses the Arches and acts as a curtain pulled out across its face; the aim being to create the unexpected, allowing the space to reinvent itself, with a greater energy and renewed capacity to serve the community.”
Whilst Sporting Club Thamesmead’s building and the layout of the outdoor facilities have been designed to reinforce the open nature of the site and to keep the impact of the built form on the land to a minimum.
Haydn Jones said: “The Sporting Club Thamesmead building recedes into the landscape creating a sustainable, sensitive addition to its parkland setting.
“Externally a quarter of the building is hidden below ground and earth mounding, however from inside unrestricted views of the pitches and high levels of natural light create a park pavilion atmosphere for all the community to enjoy.
“The design philosophy is that where possible the building should ‘touch this earth lightly’, creating minimal impact and allowing the building to be appreciated as part of, and not simply placed, on the land.
“A sensitive environmental approach to the design of the structure has been developed, with the principal environmental objectives being to minimise the amount of energy and other resources used in the construction and operation of the building and encourage biodiversity.
“The latter has been achieved by replacing the grass lost with a sedum roof providing an environment for nesting birds and insects and ‘sinking’ the building into the ground.
“The earth mounding around the perimeter has been seeded, concealing part of the building from view. The structure literally grows out of the ground. The earth also acts as an insulator and increases the energy conservation.
“The main principles to create an integrated environmental strategy have been to include ecological approaches in both the design philosophy and construction. “
Sporting Club Thamesmead is in Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, SE28 8NJ, and architect-tours will be available between 10am-1pm on Sunday 22 September.