The Yews

client: The Yews Community Partnership
location: Haywards Heath, West Sussex
date: 2013

category: client advisory

In the capacity of Glass-House Enabler, Andrew Llowarch undertook an assignment with the Yews Centre, a multi use community building run by The Yews (Haywards Heath) Community Partnership, providing a wide range of services (and the first public asset transfer project in West Sussex). Their building had been developed and altered in an ad-hoc fashion over time, leading to an internal arrangement with complex circulation routes, accessibility issues, duplication of function such as kitchens, inefficient relationships between spaces (nursery areas separated by other functions) and lack of public presence / identity.

Andrew, jointly with a member of Glass-House, developed a bespoke programme for group members to explore potential options for development of their building, to understand implications of design decisions and develop an understanding of how to engage the community in developing and implementing their brief and future plans. The programme was delivered as two days of workshops covering the following areas:
- discussion of general design principles / place making: emphasis on community buildings
- context: the characteristics and qualities of the building: identity, movement, comfort, security
- mapping activities: participants’ diagrams of physical and social connections with locality
- participants visions for the place
- use of collages to convey desirable qualities in a new building
- prioritising; developing shared agreement of themes objectives between diverse user groups
- opportunities within the site to present a more public face, while maintaining security
- working with architects: the challenges of existing buildings (e.g. access/circulation) developing the brief, design quality, client capacity (organisational requirements / resourcing / project champion, etc).