Cafe and support centre for CIF

In response to COVID, we make the decision to take the remaining Academy sessions online. Although we unfortunately don’t get to see each other in person, we’ve been staying in touch using zoom to carry on talking, learning and making.

We worked with our Sponsors Construction Impact Framework to develop a brief to allow our participants to design the look and feel of a new cafe and support centre. They considered the need for a flexible space for various events to take place, and a place to feel safe and supported with a ‘homely’ feel.

They designed two main boards:

  • One board communicated the vision for the space. This communicated how the cafe should feel, and how it should suit the needs of the users.
  • The second was their design board. This communicated the key design features such as colours, materials, furniture and layout.

Take a look at more of the submissions below.

You can see a wide variety of responses, and some common themes. Greening was popular, as were earthy tones and comfortable seating to deliver on the ‘homely’ feel of the cafe. There are also some interesting ways of creating multifunctional spaces by using modular furniture, movable walls, and pods to carve out more intimate spaces.

This was many of the participants first time using Photoshop in order to assemble these panels, and we think they’ve made impressive visuals to communicate a cohesive and people-centred vision for this unique space with certain specific needs.

Well done team!

Reimagining Mann Island Atrium

We are so grateful for the support of @RIBA North for hosting our Saturday design sessions in their gallery over the past year. It’s an inspiring environment for the next generation of place-makers, and we’ve felt very at home there.

It felt fitting to use the atrium space as a focus of one of our design sessions, to think about how this space could be activated, repurposed and connected with its surroundings. You can see our slideshow of designs below.

We had a vibrant mix which thoughtfully considered how to maximise the use of the space by connecting with the local businesses in the building, and other businesses and members of the public who might visit the area.

Ideas included a trail of Superlambanana’s to encourage families to the space, greenery to soften the space, ambitious architectural structures outside the building to attract people over from the crossing, interactive chalk flooring to encourage creativity and colour, and an outdoor play space for both adults and children to animate the surrounding area.

Well done to all the Academy participants who attended this session and collaboratively made their ideas come to life, and thank you to RIBA for hosting us and fueling the idea for this session!

Christ Church and the Community

We worked with Anette from Christ Church on Linnet Lane, to develop a session for our Academy students to design structures and spaces that would open up use of the Church to the wider community. Their aims were to:

  • Appeal to the wider community of Toxteth, not purely faith-based groups
  • Provide opportunities for activities and events
  • Connect visitors and communities with the heritage of the building
  • Create opportunities to generate income

The four groups came up with a variety of ideas. From family focused childcare provision, multi-functional craft huts, sport come music venues and spaces to help the vulnerable.

We’ve found that our Academy participants throughly enjoy the challenges and constraints that come with repurposing heritage sites, and this was no exception. Their experience of designing for Lark Lane in a previous workshop gave them first hand experience of the challenges of keeping warm in the huge scale of the church, and the opportunities of allowing people to appreciate its architecture.