Ravidassia Community Centre
Working with members of the community, Unit One Architects engaged in a concept feasibility study for a new community centre that would replace the existing community hall on Guru Ravidass Lane, Bedford.
The existing hall, as it stood, required major refurbishment work to bring it to a level where it would be desirable to use, however in understanding the needs of the Ravidassia and the wider community, it became clear that simply refurbishing it would not resolve some of the major underlying issues associated with the hall. The biggest being that its current location on the site adjoined a holy prayer and dining hall that often suffered from significant noise transfer and a conflict of interest from its users.
Discussions prior to our appointment, lead to the brief expanding to increase the hall size however one crucial factor for the viability of the community centre that the revenue acquired from the hall hire and car park was maintained whist the project was in construction.With this in mind, previous architects had proposed a simple extension to the community hall. This approach, however, did not address the strategy for preserving the income of the centre and instead would have lead to a prolonged construction timeline with construction forced to stop in order to raise funds, inevitably leading to a very disjointed and unconsidered layout and elevational form and treatment. The approach also did not address any of the underlying issues.
By developing the brief alongside the client, Unit One Architects were able to advise and propose a phased approach to the project that would allow the community hall and car park to maintain a revenue income whilst a new detached community hall would be built. We proposed creating a separate building for the community hall resolving the fundamental issue of conflicts of interest that were currently occurring. It also allowed for spaces to be separated and the overlapping of functions to be significantly reduced. The holy functions would remained sound separated allowing community members to pray and hold rituals or ceremonies in peace resolving the issue of noise transfer. This layout also allowed for a greater capacity within the car park to be accommodated which was extremely favourable for the members of the centre. Our expertise in development projects and analysing sites lead us to a solution which was overlooked by many others before; it was a simple solution yet very effective.