Community Centre Westergouwe, Gouda, The Netherlands (artist impression tenderphase)
Good design makes people feel comfortable, happy and like they belong. As social capital increases, so does the desire for community-focused places that deliver multiple functions and offer more opportunities for integration and social mobility.
The Westergouwe community centre in Gouda is a perfect example of this blended design approach. When complete it will be one of the largest children’s centres in the Netherlands, providing a nursery and primary school, sports hall and community facilities together with affordable apartments, united by a beautiful and inventive landscape setting.
The scale of the project means there is direct contact with the natural environment on all sides and four smaller houses designed around a central heartspace forms a safe place where children can play and explore. Each house can be formulated as an original educational space, such as a children’s cooking area, a shop or creative corner.
“Our drawings describe a child’s eye view of the buildings and their environs, a place where they can feel comfortable and at home, rather than lost in a crowd.”
The sports hall and amenities are also set around the central heartspace, encouraging young and old to meet in an informal manner. In this way, the building plays a connecting role in the social structure and wellbeing of the neighbourhood.
Our drawings describe a child’s eye view of the buildings and their environs, a place where they can feel comfortable and at home, rather than lost in a crowd. Nature-inclusive design and green views invite the discovery of wildlife and habitats whilst encouraging healthy activity, enabling social interaction and providing a perfect setting for the community to meet for a barbecue, a picnic on the waterfront or an evening stroll.