Community Hub Live Project

Beyond Studio

Staff and students from the University of Westminster are in the process of designing and building a new QHT funded Meanwhile Live Community Hub, in partnership with the council and locals.

Students gain direct, hands-on experience of the planning and construction process, enhancing and broadening their range of skills, and developing their confidence through dealing with stakeholders and construction professionals. 

The project aims to be a beacon of community engagement inspiring young people. A series of co-creation workshops supports activities for young people in the area as well as being accessible to others and the university will be able to exhibit work on a continuous basis reaching out to the local community.

Students engaged in public consultation in collaboration with the council to better understand needs and aspirations of locals. Students then developed designs for a visionary community hub based on the initial research. 

As a first step we developed a 1:1 prototype, which is currently situated at the rear podium at our Marylebone Campus. The design is based on a triangular modular system and two alternating modules have been built with students’ help in collaboration with Mervyn Rodrigues Associates, Jan Kattein Architects and BloQs. The prototype includes a lightweight translucent polycarbonate roof to protect from rain and will be used to experiment innovative cladding solutions including ideas of upcycling and developing co-creation methodologies with the local community. 

This Project derives from the previous 1:1 pavilions students built, that now have a permanent home at our Harrow Campus. In addition, local outreach exhibitions organised by local Wilfred Achille, Part III course leader at the University of Westminster, promotes architectural education from and for black and ethnic minority parts of the community engaging locals who usually would not have access to academic environments. 

The next step was to further develop the knowledge we have gained by reaching out to a local community, where the university has a large student intake and further encouraging knowledge exchange. 

Live projects involve participatory activities that can bring together diverse stakeholders. Significantly, the projects have a tangible physical aspect which makes participation exciting, engaging and most importantly, empowering. Our innovative approach is to use Live Projects as a way to understand issues and ask questions. We introduce new ways of working collaboratively across sectors and take our multidisciplinary skills within academia and use these in live projects to serve communities and have a positive impact on society whilst introducing students and staff to alternative practice. 

Live projects provide a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between spatial, political, financial and social factors in connection with our lived urban experience. There is the possibility for practical and tangible outcomes, which can be communicated to a wide range of audiences in an engaging way. Live Projects promote an understanding of complex relationships of stakeholders and introduce novel ways of practice whilst being useful, applied and with specific project outcomes. 

Community Hub Live Project is a part of London Festival of Architecture 2022 as “Community Hub 1:1 Prototype”.

This forms part of the Live Design Studio, Master of Architecture (MArch), RIBA Part 2, School of Architecture + Cities, University of Westminster 

Come and join our exciting MArch programme now including the Live Design Practice to design and construct the ‘Let’s Build! 1:1 Community Hub’.

The Live Design Studio explores new forms of practice and advocates your agency within the profession using real projects.

(please note: studio choice subject to availability and voting)

Please contact us for any questions:

  • Live Design Studio: m.kramer@westminster.ac.uk
  • MArch: difforr@westminster.ac.uk

For more information about the MArch (RIBA Part II) Course please go here.