header2Walter Segal Self Build Trustheader2

Nightingale Estate Community Centre


Constructive Individuals and Architype have recently completed their collaboration on a new community centre in the centre of Hackney’s Nightingale Estate, a massive housing development currently undergoing extensive remodelling and renovation.


CI put together a fixed price package in March 1997 to design and construct this 160m2 single storey building for use by local residents for childcare. The intention was that the construction was to be undertaken by a locally recruited volunteer building force, and CI undertook responsibility for recruitment, adding to volunteer numbers from their extensive database.


The project was partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in order to train local people to provide a resource base for potential future self-build housing in the borough.

The key to a successful building project using volunteers was to ensure that a large group, a well organised training team and materials flow, and a short build period maintained excitement and momentum throughout the project. Confidence and skills building were the essential qualities that the trainees took away with them.

Part of the brief was to provide an environmentally sensitive design. Council opposition to external timber wall finishes led to the adoption of a rendered blockwork cladding to a timber frame structure which utilised ‘breathing wall’ construction. A concrete slab was used to allow the floor to be built at ground level and to enable wheelchair access, whilst a butterfly roof with turf ensured that surrounding multi-storey buildings would look down onto a green roof blending in with the surrounding park.


Beautiful and distinctive metalwork gates and window shutters were made up in a local workshop, and finished in various shades of gold metallic paint. The walls were painted a deep blue, ensuring that the building will not be easily forgotten; it is a great source of pride to local people.


Community Centre at Nightingale Estate, Hackney, London

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