Two-Stage Invited Competition, Runners Up
Lewes, England 2014
Project budget: £2.5 million
Client: SUBUD Lewes
The brief was for a new centre for Subud Lewes [Subud Britain] spiritual group to be built on a sloping 4 acre site formerly used as a school on the edge of historic Lewes. The centre will support a community programme with two separate halls of different sizes for the spiritual worship, while functioning as places for cultural events, conferences and other community based activities. The centre will also support offices for social enterprise, a crèche and stand alone cafe. A dormitory accommodation building is included as part of the master planning of the site for potential future development. Our proposal considers the main spaces as a series of “pavilions” carefully places in the sloping landscape. The spaces are clustered around common areas with each having its own relationship to different characteristics of the site and views of the surrounding hills of the South Downs.
The hall buildings have a hovering lattice truss made up of small softwood members, supported above the space on glue laminated timber columns. The truss delicately diffuses daylight and direct sunlight during the day and throughout the seasons, creating multiple atmospheres. The solid walls are made up of hand-worked rammed chalk extracted directly from the site and creating a tactile reading of the local geology. A system of timber cassettes line the internal end walls subdivided to create openings and doors. The exterior of the hall buildings are predominately clad in timber boarding. The long section of the halls is shaped to promote passive solar heat gain and natural ventilation, while the mass of rammed chalk naturally controls temperature fluctuations within the hall spaces.
An animation of one of the hall buildings, showing how light changes from dawn to dusk, is on vimeo.
To watch a video clip of the main hall press play on the image below: