A highly sustainable and dynamic new build community facility and public library for Hampshire County Council that relates to and enhances the significant constraints and rich ecological environment of the site. This includes measures to allow the migration of wildlife under the building and, to that end, the new structures, located within the floodplain, are built above the ground on ’staddle stones’, minimising the amount of excavation and ground works and, hence, protecting the habitat.
The design responds directly to a developable site area that is bisected by the chalk stream, and sites the building forms on each side of the watercourse, linked by a glazed ‘viewing’ bridge, overlooking the otter ‘holt’ and bug hotel.
This exciting community facility is the result of extensive consultation that engendered wholehearted support from the local community. It houses a large multi-function hall, a smaller hall, offices, meeting rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, glazed foyer, and an external seating deck, whilst the public library is housed on the upper floor. Many groups and organisations use the centre for a wide range of regular activities, including fitness classes, toddler groups, dance sessions, craft fairs, and a community cinema.