Highbury Roundhouse

Founded in the 1970s, the Highbury Roundhouse is an established and much-loved part of the north London community. The new building will be a local hub for the organisation, providing quality facilities for a wide range of activities for people of different ages. The new Roundhouse provides a large multi-purpose hall, dance studio, early years centre, café, youth club and offices for core staff. A new ICT suite and heritage learning facility will provide a means for local people to engage with, enjoy and share their knowledge of local heritage.

Client: The Highbury Roundhouse Association
Construction Value: £2.7m
Completion: Spring 2018
Location: Islington, London

“SWA tackled a demanding brief on a constrained site and have produced an outstanding design for a sustainable, multi-use community centre”

Tony Miller for the Highbury Roundhouse Trustees
Dynamic spaces for a diverse programme
Overcoming Constraints

Located on a landlocked site, the project overcomes constraints of adjacent housing, railway infrastructure, access and contaminated buildings to provide bespoke spaces that are low-energy, hard wearing, homely and adaptable to future needs. Facing the neighbouring Olden Community Gardens, the scheme creates new green links to encourage use of this rich natural asset.

To boost a constrained budget, we worked closely with the client to advance their Big Lottery Fund application, the grant of which forms an integral portion of the project’s funding mix.

Sensitive intervention between neighbouring houses and a community garden
Co-Designing with Users

We engaged users and staff to collaboratively create spaces where community outreach, social interaction and neighbourliness can take root. Locals were instrumental in creatively defining the vision, activities and spaces on offer. Users, teachers, staff, and practitioners had valuable input into the defining characteristics and key features of the range of spaces provided.

Structural expression and generous storage in the main hall
Dance studio designed alongside dancers, teachers, users, and practitioners