Work is due to start later this year on a new building for 120-year-old local charity Blackfriars Settlement.
Architects Shepheard Epstein Hunter have worked closely with the social investment agency Presentation to cross-subsidise the scheme by the construction of 36 new flats for shared ownership and private sale above the new community centre.
Blackfriars Settlement, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, provides a range of services for children, young people and older people in north Southwark.
The new building will be on the Settlement's existing site at the corner of Rushworth Street and Pocock Street. The organisation currently relies on a number of portable buildings to house all its activities.
Arrangements are currently being made to enable the charity to maintain its services during the building work.
The new building will have shared facilities (such as the hall, lounge, creche, reception, resource room, servery and users' lounge) arranged around a central double height space. This will be the â€˜hub' of the Blackfriars Settlement where users and staff from different services converge, casually meet and socialise.
SEH hope that this will help consolidate the sense of community already evident in the existing building and provide an entrance which is welcoming and accessible to all members of the community – including people of impaired vision, hearing and mobility.
The architects say that they have designed the glass and steel community centre to reflect the transparency of the Settlement, and the flats' rainscreen cladding and full height glazing provide a light contrast to the mainly brick residential buildings around the site.
The layout is intended to be adaptable should the Settlement's needs change in the future.