14 Princes Street
Dromore
Northern Ireland
BT25 1AY

+44 (0) 2892 698424

© RE Quinn Architects Ltd. 2020. All rights reserved.

Annadale Haywood Residents Assoc. Community Centre

A modular centre in the heart of the neighbourhood.

Some projects can undergo various processes that can take years before they can move to the stage where the architect can get involved.  Annadale Haywood Residents Association were one such Client where multiple hoops had to be jumped through. Many boxes had to be ticked before all the strands of their funding came together, which would allow them to progress with a new community centre and garden.
 
Up to this point, the community group had been operating in a converted flat located in Annadale Flats just off the Ormeau Road.  Their resident's association's many activities included wide-ranging educational, cultural and social programmes for everyone old within the area.  Over time the immediate locality had seen many changes that included much diversity. Naturally, the small flat was not able to continue to serve as a proper community centre.
 
It was the dream of the Group to have a brand new, modern facility where people could come together to enjoy a variety of activities. Job training, a youth club, older people's projects, counselling support for residents, a housing advice service as well as a range of celebrations that celebrated the ever-evolving local diversity.
As the building was situated in the heart of a residential community there was a need to ensure that it was a distinctive yet inviting architectural language without being overpowering or impersonal.
Adam Quinn
REQA Project Architect

A modular, timber frame build methodology allowed for quicker and efficient construction process.

The lead funder was the Big Lottery's Space and Place programme with additional support and funding coming from Belfast City Centre and Northern Ireland Housing Executive.  Upon our appointment as the Group's architect, we set about developing the brief and developing design proposals for both the building and landscape area.  Conveniently the site was located in a section of vacant NIHE land/green space behind Annadale Flats which would provide a familiar setting and a smooth transition into the premises.
 
The concealed nature of the site meant that that orientation and approach to the building were significant and sensitive design considerations.  Additionally, houses along Delhi Parade and Ava Avenue backed onto the site, and many apartments in Annadale Flats were directly overlooking where the building and garden would be situated.  Not only did the spaces need to flow inside that the building, but they also required a direct relationship with the garden and surrounding houses.
 
As the building is situated in the heart of a residential community, there was a need to ensure that it was a distinctive yet inviting architectural language without being overpowering or impersonal.  The new community centre itself was to comprise of a flexible multi-purpose hall with the associated kitchen along with a bespoke training room, reception office and toilet facilities.  Outside consisted of sections of hard landscaping, lawn areas, flower beds and a wet-pour children's play areas.

Folding partition doors ensure flexibility and practical space management.

The NIHE required that the building be a modular, timber frame construction which allowed for a quick, straightforward building assembly while being slightly more expensive.  However, one of the main challenges for the project became apparent at the planning stage when the council asked for a ground condition survey to be carried out.
 
This process showed that the site was contaminated meaning that large volumes of excavation had to be carefully disposed of off-site. The remainder of landscaped areas addressed in such a way to ensure that the future users couldn't come into contact with the contamination. Individual building sites conceal problems that cannot be seen until it is too late. Investing in the correct surveys will ultimately benefit the build process and protect the project budget. Agility and responsiveness will reduce the impacts of the unforeseen.

The building form is modest and subtly integrates into the brick terraced neighbourhood.

The success of any project is often determined by good teamwork.  During the contract period, the Main Contractor's experience and input proved to be invaluable in the positive outcome of the project.  Likewise, those involved with overseeing the funding processes were both diligent and efficient from start to finish.  Moving forward, we are looking forward to seeing the difference this high-quality community space will make to the lives of local people using it.

Data

Project

Modular new-build installation for a residential community

Location

Ormeau Rd, Belfast

Scale

190 m²

Status

Complete

Typology

Community
New Build

Photography / Imagery

REQA

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