Lavender Sure Start and Children's Centre, Mitcham, Surrey

A children's playground

About the Project

Project Information
  • Client: London Borough of Merton
  • Principal designer: John McAslan and Partners
  • Principal contractor: Durkan Pudelek
  • Principal engineer: Arup
  • Contract value: £1.8 million

This is a new, 1,000m² nursery and community building for the use of low-income families as part of the government's Sure Start initiative. Intended to act as a local catalyst for regeneration, it has also succeeded in a creating a hub for people using adjacent facilities such as allotments, tennis courts, paddling pool and playground.

Set within a stretch of open parkland bounded by the busy London Road, the building is on an existing site which had become prey to vandals.

The new building is modular to allow for off-site fabrication and speedy assembly and flexible to meet the needs of children, parents and the local community. Accommodating 90 children including babies, plus community facilities including a café and multi-purpose rooms, it is conceived as a 'pavilion in the park.'

Materials used include timber - a Douglas fir that will weather to an elegant silver - while a concern with sustainability resulted in the building's orientation for daylight penetration and ventilation. The building has no mechanical heating or cooling.

The judges said: 'Speed of construction, environmental awareness and sustainability issues were successfully addressed through the design of a 'pavilion in the park'.'

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