Oldfield Centre

New community centre and rowing club

The site is situated to the north west of Altrincham, bounded by the Bridgewater Canal to the North and the Oldfield Brow Park to the West. Commissioned by the Trafford Housing Trust, the scheme is to provide a new community centre and rowing club for SMCA and Trafford respectively. The project will terminate the expansion of a new adjacent housing estate and define the edge of the existing playing fields, forming a ‘pavilion’ typology that leads onto the Cheshire Plains.

The project has been developed in consultation with both parties so that where possible common facilities can be shared between the Community Centre and Rowing Club, ensuring efficiencies are achieved within the design. The two uses have a shared entrance to provide a greater sense of community and ownership. A clear example of joined up thinking between different community groups, to create an end product greater than the sum of its parts.

The language of the building has been informed by its proximity to the green belt, surrounding woodland and its uses. The buildings are clad in vertical timber boards, with intermittent boards being removed in front of glazed areas – creating the aesthetic of vertically stacked rowing oars.

The rowing club has been designed to allow the public to have glimpses into the boat shed, providing a sense of community involvement. Low level planters with reeds are located in front of glazed areas to create the appearance of the stored boats being on the water. The roof of the rowing club is accessible to the users to provide both a secure space for the community and a viewing platform for spectators. The rooftop gives back some of the public space taken by the build.