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AOC wins Berkshire community centre contest

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AOC Architecture has won the competition to design a £2.32 million community hub at Shinfield, Berkshire

The practice was unanimously chosen ahead of Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture, Adams and Sutherland, Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt and Studio Partington to win the RIBA-organised contest.

The competition sought ‘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 supermarket and additional shops.

The new facility will feature a reception area, children’s play space, manager’s office, a café and one large hall capable of being divided into smaller units.

AOC Architecture director Geoff Shearcroft said: ‘We are extremely proud to have been selected by Shinfield Parish Council to work with them in developing their vision for a new community centre to accommodate the evolving needs of their growing population.

‘Like many towns and villages in the south-east of England, Shinfield is experiencing rapid residential development and the creation of a coherent, integrated public building and landscape in the historic centre is essential to its continued success.’

Shinfield Parish Council chair Peter Hughes said: ‘We originally decided to run a RIBA competition as this would give us a number of different designs to choose from rather than appointing a single architect. Essentially, we were looking to build a community centre that would stand the test of time, fit in with its surroundings, and be something we could be proud of.

‘We received five very different designs and our panel chose the design that answered all the main points in the brief and delivered the iconic design we were seeking. AOC, will now be appointed to take the building through to planning permission and construction.’

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 homes 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.

The judging panel included representatives from Shinfield Parish Council and Wokingham Borough Council along with Jonathan McDowell of Matter Architecture acting as the RIBA adviser.

McDowell commented: ‘The five shortlisted teams provided a rich variety of responses to the challenging brief, each with numerous strong points that the panel found instructive to compare.

‘AOC emerged as the clear winner, proposing a simple, robust and relaxed building that uses familiar elements to create a highly functional and flexible building which will act as a distinctive and engaging focus for Shinfield’s growing community; a well-judged and elegantly presented proposal.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Lovely project here by AOC. But can we see the runners up too?

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  • From the look of the interior image the roof glazing will flood daylight onto the upper wall surfaces of this room, but surely if the heavy roof structure is dark stained as indicated this risks creating a really rather oppressive environment.

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