The Hub, more formally the Whitechapel Threshold Centre, is a product of the government's push for joined-up thinking. A series of Hubs will provide social, welfare and employment support on six sites in some of London's most deprived boroughs. Based on joint bids by local authorities and other agencies for Single Regeneration Budget money, this particular Hub in Tower Hamlets has been developed with the Peabody Trust. The trust found a 10x10m site in the corner of one of its estates, set between two taller blocks.
This may sound hidden away, but the Hub proclaims its presence with vibrantly coloured rendered walls, intended to signal the arrival of new resources on the estate.
The design, by Greenhill Jenner Architects, was developed with a community group, through fun days, workshops and models; the centre manager was appointed early on to fit the Hub to local needs.
Given site limitations, two storeys were necessary. A sloping roof soffit increases the scale on the first floor, reaching over 5m.
This space has been kept as a single volume, emphasised by organising WCs and storage cupboards as walls of doors on the two higher sides. A range of separate functions are housed on the cellular ground floor.
Because of the Hub's position and orientation, only the courtyard catches the afternoon sun; a 'beak' projects into this, catching light at upper level and providing a secondary ground floor entrance.
The ground floor contains staff space, the kitchen, an interview room and an IT training area. The first floor is the main community space, with uses including a crèche and outof-school care for five to eight year olds. The Hub also includes training for adults and career advice, and is a base for employment and other outreach services.
The structure is a simple, economic one of cavity blockwork, fairfaced within, rendered without. The roof is a structural deck spanning between principal timbers. The stair enclosure (with a panel of one-hour glass) was a necessary fire requirement. The colours have proved popular with the mainly Bengali families on the estate.
Funding was both capital and to support the first three years' revenue.After that, letting income and trust support should enable its continued existence. It is a bright start.
CLIENT Peabody Trust
ARCHITECTS Greenhill Jenner Architects: Nigel Greenhill, Francisco Mouzo, Jason Austin, Mette Kristensen
QUANTITY SURVEYOR Philip Pank Partnership
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Adams Kara Taylor
SERVICES ENGINEER Paul Bastick Associates
PROCUREMENT IFC 98 CONTRACT VALUE £450,000
MAIN CONTRACTOR Roper Construction
SUBCONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS Metal fabrication Chandler Welding Services; precast stairs, composite floors Bison Concrete; blockwork Lignacite; aluminium roof Kalzip; render, insulation Rockwool; metal cladding, windows Technal; structural roof deckMoelven; glass blocks Luxcrete; lift Thyssen; underfloor heatingWarmafloor; glazing Pilkington; sanitaryware Sissons, Armitage Shanks;
kitchen furniture Symphony Group; floor coverings Altro, Tretford Carpets; ironmongery IR Laidlaw; exterior metalwork paint International Paint; interior paint Crown; metal grating fence, gates Orsogril; lighting IBL Lighting, Thorlux Lighting
Peabody Trust www. peabody. org. uk
Greenhill Jenner Architects www. greenhilljenner. co. uk
Philip Pank Partnership www. philippank. com
Adams Kara Taylor www. akt-uk. com