The RIBA has launched an international contest for to design a £2.32 million community hub in Shinfield, Berkshire
Open to architect-led multidisciplinary teams, the competition seeks ‘sustainable and multifunctional’ proposals for a landmark 560m² structure on the site of a former British Legion building next to the village’s existing parish hall.
The project is backed by Shinfield Parish Council and Wokingham Borough Council, and is planned as the centrepiece of a new development featuring a large supermarket and additional shops. The new facility, which may be linked to the parish hall by courtyards or covered walkways, will feature a reception area, children’s play space, manager’s office, a café and one large hall capable of being divvied into smaller units.
Shinfield Parish Council chair Peter Hughes said: ‘The new Shinfield Community Centre is a wonderful initiative aimed at local people, and will really put Shinfield on the map.
‘This iconic building will create a vibrant, special place within the heart of the Shinfield Community and help make the area even more attractive to residents and visitors of all ages. The successful team will demonstrate an innovative and practical approach to an exciting brief in a dynamic and rapidly changing local environment.’
Councillor Anthony Pollock of Wokingham Borough Council said: ‘The new community centre will be an integral part of Shinfield as it grows and we are delighted to be working with the parish council and RIBA on this project.
‘A well-designed new centre at School Green has the potential to bring the new and existing communities together in Shinfield and be a great asset to the village.’
Shinfield is a small village of around 11,200 residents, south of the M4 just outside Reading. The parish has been earmarked for 3,500 new dwellings and new social infrastructure as part of a strategy for growth in the wider region.
The latest project aims to deliver new essential infrastructure for residents. An extension of the new building may also be considered in the future.
Five shortlisted teams will receive £4,000 each to participate in the design competition following an initial selection questionnaire phase.
The judging panel will include representatives from Shinfield Parish Council and Wokingham Borough Council along with Jonathan McDowell of Matter Architecture acting as the RIBA adviser.
McDowell said: ‘This is a fine opportunity for an excellent design team to work with the local community to help create an ambitious new focus at its heart, providing important shared facilities and an uplifting and enduring new hub for the people of Shinfield and the wider area.’
The deadline for applications is 4 December.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information
No 1 Aire Street
Tel: 0113 203 1490
Andrew Grimes, Shinfield Parish Council vice-chair councillor
Why are your holding a competition for a new community centre in Shinfield?
The building represents the first major investment in a public building in Shinfield since the beginning of the Strategic Development Location programme to deliver in excess of 2,500 new houses in the parish. The Parish Council and Wokingham Borough Council, which are jointly judging the competition, consider development on the site will be key to meeting the aspirations of the community for a strong village centre linking the traditional School Green with the new retail centre. Therefore, the judges are keen to see a range of designs that could fulfil the potential of the site and leave a strong legacy to future residents.
What is your vision for the new community centre?
The site is designed to take a 560m² community building and to provide a link between the School Green and modern retail facilities. The building will provide the community with meeting places for various community activities, support a modern self-service library and possibly a café. It will enable groups to better plan their events throughout the year by providing additional facilities. The site is attached to the local South of M4 Strategic Development Location and the Local Planning Authority is fully behind the development which is funded through Section 106 Agreements. As the site is between the traditional and modern developments the judges want to see a range of options which will challenge and excite the residents in order to select the best design for the setting.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
Working with RIBA Competitions will enable us to reach a wider range of architecture firms of varying scale and we hope that the shortlisted practices will receive greater publicity and therefore enhanced future opportunities. We are hoping to receive a range of designs from the shortlisted teams at Phase 2 and that participating in the competition will help the winning practice to grow and potentially take on similar schemes for other local authorities
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
At the current time we have no further schemes although the judges see this project as part of developing the village centre public realm and may consider further schemes in the future as the development plans on adjoining land firm up over the next few years.