Two-Stage Invited Competition, Finalist
Lewes, England 2014
Project budget: £2.5 million
Client: SUBUD Lewes
The brief was for a new centre for Subud Lewes [Subud Britain] to be built on a sloping 4 acre site formerly used as a school on the edge of historic Lewes. The centre would support a community programme with two separate halls of different sizes for spiritual worship, while functioning as a place for cultural events, conferences and other community based activities. The centre would 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 of the brief as a series of ‘pavilions’ carefully placed 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 on glue laminated timber columns. The truss delicately diffuses daylight and direct sunlight during the day and throughout the seasons, creating multiple atmospheres.
A system of timber cassettes lines the internal end-walls, subdivided to create a variety of openings and doors.
Our proposal creates a tactile reading of the local geology. The solid walls are made of hand-worked rammed chalk extracted directly from the site. The mass of rammed chalk naturally controls temperature fluctuations within the hall spaces.
The exterior of the hall buildings are predominately clad in timber boarding.
The long section of the halls is shaped in an environmentally sensitive way in oder to promote passive solar heat gain and natural ventilation.
An animation of one of the hall buildings, showing how light changes from dawn to dusk, can be found on vimeo.