AOC Architecture and Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture are among five teams shortlisted for 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: ‘Shinfield Parish Council is delighted to be working in partnership with RIBA and Wokingham Borough Council and looking forward to seeing design proposals from these selected architectural practices.
‘We hope that we can end up with an iconic design that everyone will be proud of and one that will stand the test of time over many years.’
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.
The judging panel includes representatives from Shinfield Parish Council and Wokingham Borough Council along with Jonathan McDowell of Matter Architecture acting as the RIBA adviser.
McDowell said: ‘From a strong long list of submissions, the panel selected five talented teams who best demonstrated the relevance of their experience and clear understanding of this important project which will create a much-needed new focus for Shinfield’s evolving community.
‘We will be excited to see the range of design proposals they develop for the next stage of the competition.’
Contest site: Shinfield Community Centre, Berkshire
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.