"TNG clearly represents a particularly significant project for its architect, offering evidence not just of RCKa's considerable design abilities but of its skills at conjuring a project from the myriad needs of a community and in securing the necessary backing to make it happen...a political and architectural triumph in equal measure."
Ellis Woodman, Building Design
The New Generation Youth Venue (TNG) was officially opened by the Mayor in June 2013. It provides vocational, leisure and support services for the young people of Lewisham along with a range of activities for the local community. This state-of-the-art building includes a climbing wall, training kitchen and cafe, multi-use games area, recording studio, health-clinic, dance and performances spaces, teaching rooms and IT suite.
Our central vision for TNG was the creation of a democratic, welcoming and flexible building that responds to the changing demands of its occupants. The facilities on offer are matched by a range of flexible, undefined spaces, designed to encourage young people to appropriate the building in creative and innovative ways. These spaces connect to form a dramatic internal event landscape that resolves complex site levels, engages and welcomes visitors, and is alive with activity and opportunity.
Exposed structural timber forms and elegant coffered ceiling and wall finish, selected for its natural warmth and ability to resist post-tender D&B value-engineering. Clean lines and dramatic open spaces aid security through natural surveillance, and result in a bright and vibrant inclusive internal atmosphere.
External cladding is unified by a gently undulating profile that casts vertical shadows across curtain-like elevations. Reflective foil-faced insulation beneath polycarbonate creates a sunlight-responsive shimmering skin, beneath which is hung delicately faceted porcelain-like ultra-high performance concrete panels: an attractive, tactile and robust base to the building.
RCKa identified the potential of the site for a significant facility being aware of Lewisham's emerging youth policy and were instrumental in securing project funding.
The practice's aim was to create a positive place in which young people find inspiration, where they feel safe and secure, and in which they want to spend time.
Its success and popularity with young people in particular has far exceeded expectation, which looks set to increase as new programmes are rolled out. This is testament to the ambition of the London Borough of Lewisham and the approach of the design team, which placed users and the local community at the heart of the design, briefing and governance process.