THE BRIDGE COMMUNITY CENTRE

HASTINGS

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BBM recently completed new community facilities on the site of an old community centre in the Ore Valley Hastings. The project provides a new community café with demonstration kitchen, serviced office space, learning and meeting rooms as well as a multi-purpose hall and creche.

‘The Bridge’ as it is called is sponsored by English Partnerships together with SURESTART, the Hastings Trust and Hastings Borough Council, as part of Hasting’s urban regeneration initiative.

BBM initially focused on developing the brief and design of the centre with the local community who had already been working on the project themselves for over two years. As well as satisfying the clients’ brief, BBM focused to creating the greenest community building in the South East of England: a low energy building constructed of locally sourced, sustainable, non-toxic organic materials, as well as reusing the existing building fabric whenever possible (the existing foundations, retaining wall and ground slab were reused).

The proposals radically alter the nature of the existing building by creating a new curved timber roof over the whole centre. The building is accessed from the main road via a slender steel and timber bridge taking you in at the top floor level where you can appreciate the chestnut-lined underside of curved roof as well as the open mezzanine floor with café below. This roof is made from sustainably-managed glue-laminated sweet chestnut timber beams and columns from Sussex’s coppiced woodlands. The sweet chestnut beams and columns were some of the first to be installed anywhere in the world. Sweet chestnut is used for external cladding as well as lime/ clay render on timber fibre-board insulation. Flax insulation is used between the timber frame. The roof is finished with sedum plants on a single-ply rubber membrane made with 20% recycled car tyres. The roof also provides a vantage point for an array of Photovoltaic solar panels providing free electricity as well as an evacuated tube solar panel providing hot water.

This project came in on budget and seven weeks ahead of schedule!!