Astudio has designed the Spotlight Youth Space in Poplar, East London, which aims to overcome the inadequate provision of youth facilities in the borough.
The £7m project for Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (HARCA) aims to empower youths and foster a sense of community. Astudio approached this by including a range of facilities, including a boxing gym, recording studios, multiple social and learning spaces, a café and a triple-height, 260sq m performance hall.
The concept is based on two interlocking cubes around the performance hall. This space forms the heart of the building and the circulation on each floor wraps around it, which creates clarity in the layout and visually connects the different floors.
Internal glazing opens up the space, allowing passive supervision and the young people to see what else is going on in the building.
The façade features bespoke aluminium cladding, finished in a metallic, dichroic coating, which seems to change colour when viewed from different angles and light conditions. The effect is intensified by the texture of the embossed and indented panels.
The four-year design and construction process was overseen by Astudio and involved over 1,600 individual consultations with local young people and stakeholders.
The building has been awarded BREEAM Excellent based on its use of an energy-efficient plant, metering of water and energy and selection of materials of low environmental impact. It was also shortlisted recently for a World Architecture Festival (WAF) Award.