£12M new build scheme
The £12million community hub in Sparkbrook is the result of a shared vision between five public and private sector organisations that has rejuvenated health and community services, reviving the neighbourhood for this 31,000 strong population.
Supporting Birmingham City Council’s ‘Big City Plan’ to revitalise Birmingham, it was essential the new development symbolised regeneration in the area and investment in the region. Combining a number of services across two buildings – including a community and health centre and church - it needed to be easy to navigate and form part of a wider masterplan that firmly linked the site to nearby Farm Park and the residential setting.
Each element of the masterplan has been carefully considered using the concept of the ‘healing landscape’ to create an invigorating hub for the community of Sparkbrook and actively improve health and wellbeing.
Both buildings are set back from the road with their entrances opening out onto hard landscaped plazas, naturally drawing the public towards them. The ‘hub’ design also allows the provision of private space at the back of each site and clearly defined public space at the front. The clean, angular lines of the church also connect it with the adjacent park by extending its external walls to line up to with its two tree-lined avenues.
On the church site, a community peace garden has been re-created. Secured by a lockable door and surrounded by rendered walls and frosted glass, the garden features sensory planting with year-round colour and a herb garden for the community to tend to. This not only provides a calming environment and an area of quiet reflection but a private space, particularly for Muslim women.
Establishing local pride and identity, the design team and arts co-ordinator incorporated elements from the design workshops into art installations across the site. Ideas from a brainstorming session have been represented in a water feature outside the centre, which includes words such as ‘welcome’, ‘dignity’, ‘openness’ and ‘unity’ – symbolising values the community embrace.