Islands and Squares

Hannah Payne

The Rialto Youth Project

Located on the edge of Toxteth, this youth centre scheme aims to serve the local community and particularly its young people, by providing sports, creative and educational facilities in a safe environment. The project prioritises education and wellbeing to positively impact the users’ lifestyles as well as increasing their access to nature which is lacking in a city.

The project is driven by two main concepts, the first being the continuation of the context’s theme of buildings as islands defining squares of outdoor space. The second is of a walled garden creating paradise and security within enclosure. As a result, the scheme consists of four main blocks (activity, education, creativity and events) located around a central garden and that define the smaller outdoor spaces. All of this is encompassed by a continuous envelope with large openings to bring the street into the project and vice versa.
Paradise
Paradise

Within the activity block a multipurpose sports pitch and climbing wall have been provided to improve both physical and mental wellbeing. The education block provides study space, meeting rooms and health advice as well as a youth base that spills into the central garden to encourage social interaction. The creativity block accommodates music recording studios and an art studio – the talents developed here are showcased through the event hall. This hall spills out into the pedestrianised street defining the events square which encourages the community to engage with the project. The two other main external spaces are the central garden which provides outdoor space for socialising, and the wellbeing garden that wraps around the creative block to provide a private place for contemplation and counselling. Both of these are heavily vegetated to improve the environmental impact of the project and also the users’ wellbeing.

Stategy
Strategy

Each block is externally finished with a red Viroc cladding that expresses different levels through different arrangements of the boards. The exception to this is the sports pavilion which is left open apart from a green wall separating the pitch from the central garden. The surrounding envelope is a translucent sinusoidal polycarbonate that provides privacy without restricting light and is supported by a timber frame, creating cloisters for circulation. The blocks have a load bearing CLT structure and green roof for water retention and cooling whereas the pavilion roofs of the sports pitch and event hall consist of timber structural panels in a zig zag form.

Plan
Plan
Section
Section
Exterior View
Exterior View