Footprint Architects, working with a local charity – the Poole Communities Trust, and a local community group – The Bourne Community Group, have designed a new multi-purpose community hub at the heart of Bourne Valley to help revitalise a deprived area of Poole. The recently approved scheme aims to redevelop the existing Bourne Valley Youth Centre site to provide modern facilities for a pre-school, youth services and a community centre. The project will be a flagship community-led project set in the heart of Bourne Valley.
The success of the project can be attributed to the focus on the active participation of the end user, resulting in a design that is social and inclusive for all. This was achieved through an initial stakeholder management plan that identifies key stakeholder’s requirements and roles within the project. This understanding is then further developed throughout the stakeholder engagement meetings, allowing FPA to develop the project with strong understanding of all stakeholders and, particularly, the community’s interests. This dialogue and interaction with the stakeholders is critical towards ensuring that the project is a direct reflection of the community’s needs and interests, as well as a project that successfully promotes the diversity of communities.
Engaging with the stakeholders ensured greater understanding of the brief, the users and the community as a whole, to develop a practical and functional space for the users. The Bourne Valley project is an example of how FPA not only design spaces for; but also encourages the participation of, the end-user. When designing a community project, there are a large number of stakeholders involved and each view and interest must be taken into account. This understanding of the stakeholders not only aids the development of design, but also provides a robust scheme that ensures a smooth process once ready for the planning stage.
To ensure the community get the most out of the design and are aware of the potential changes to their local environment, three public consultations were held in June 2018 in the existing building. Residents were invited to view the proposal and give their comments, which helped form the approved scheme. This participation with the public is an example of how FPA understands the need to resolve social requirements may often inform technical and professional knowledge, to provide a sensitive solution to the requirements of the end-user.
Footprint Architects have utilised cutting-edge 3D modeling and photogrammetry for stakeholders to understand, engage and interact with the designs in context, at a greater level. This method of design presentation allowed constant engagement and regular updates to the design as a result of public feedback and engagements.
The design is separated into two main areas of function, distinguished by a covered walkway running centrally through the site to divide the spaces and link the streets through the corner plot. The South-West area of the project houses modern classrooms and outdoor space, providing learning and activity spaces for 50 nursery pupils. The area to the North-East, opposing the nursery space, contains a café, garden, activity hall and multi-purpose rooms. This block offers young people a hub of activity and opportunity, as well as a space in which the whole community can enjoy and take pride in. FPA’s commitment to creating an all inclusive and socially aware space is evident in the function of these designed spaces; the project follows the community through a lifetime – starting at grassroots with the nursery, to providing young adults a secure and safe place, to the communal areas in which everyone can enjoy socially.
Formed by a robust brick exterior, the project breaks down materially towards the centre to reveal soft coloured timber cladding, framed by lush green outdoor space creating a safe oasis and outdoor space for the community. The soft sweep of the brick façade combats the hard edge of the main road, creating an element that sensitively addresses the existing condition whilst also providing a sense of safety and security for the community.
The public’s response has been overwhelmingly positive, including the following from a member of the community:
“Wow! What a fantastic development for an area of such need. I believe the benefits for everyone are endless. I love the modern look and think it will appeal to younger people in particular. This is just what this community needs. Very exciting!”
Fund raising efforts are currently underway by Poole Communities Trust and other groups to raise what is needed to complete the Bourne Community Hub project. If you wish to make a donation to help with this worthy cause, please see the link below: