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Detail Nunhead Green Community Centre
London, UK

Planning approval: 2013

Southwark Council
Nunhead's Voice

Nunhead Community Centre

Following a competitive interview in 2011 AOC were appointed by Southwark Council to develop a masterplan for two key sites in the Nunhead Green Conservation Area. The project replaces two 1970s council buildings, that failed to meet local needs, with a new low energy community centre, 14 private homes and 8 council homes.

The community centre is to be built by Southwark Council and run by local residents group, Nunhead Voice.  AOC led a brief development process with the group, culminating in the shared ambition to allow ‘different people to do different activities in the same place at the same time’.  The subsequent design takes the form of a large public ‘house’, a two storey, detached brick building with a range of acoustically separated rooms with distinct characters.  The community centre is set back from the site boundary to extend the adjacent pedestrianised area, actively contributing to the public realm at the west end of the Green and encouraging the uses of the building to spill outside.


The front facade has a gable topped by a lantern that lets light in by day and acts as a beacon by night.

Many community centres are forced to close due to onerous running costs so the centre’s design is based around low energy principles to minimise running costs and assist its economic viability. The new building will be BREEAM excellent and the first example of a modern dynamically insulated wall system in a non-domestic building; external air is drawn into the building through super-insulated walls that perform as a heat exchanger, with a subsequent reduction in the need for internal service ducts.  The timber-framed structure has been designed to maximise the ease of future adaptations, allowing the building to evolve in response to the changing needs of its users.