Planning consent has been awarded to The Pavilion Project; a milestone which gives the go ahead to construct a new pavilion at North Walls Recreation Ground in Winchester. The new building, designed by local award-winning architects AR Design Studio, will replace the current dilapidated pavilion and scoring huts with one modern, sustainable, community oriented facility that is compliant with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) guidelines. It was also stated that the Pavilion should provide facilities for the wider community and other sporting groups.
The Pavilion Project, a not-for–profit, community-led organisation, was set up just over two years ago by a group of local people. After approaching Winchester City Council to discuss the proposal for an enhanced replacement at North Walls, The Pavilion Project approached award-winning Winchester architects, AR Design Studio for an imaginative and bold conceptual design to replace the current pavilion with an architecturally pleasing building which would enhance this much used, and much loved, city centre park.
The pitches at North Walls are the best public-access cricket facilities in Winchester. However, the existing pavilion faces only one of the two pitches, with a separate hut relied upon for the second pitch. It is anticipated a new pavilion will encourage male, female, youth and disability cricket at all levels and abilities, with a pavilion which, for the first time, will offer facilities for all, faces both pitches and incorporates sheltered viewing areas. The benefits reach beyond cricket to other sports organisations including rugby, cycling, running, park users and community groups. It was important that the use of the facility be extended beyond just cricket and become a building for use by the wider community.
The brief was to provide changing facilities for four sports teams, ancillary spaces, plus a bar, kitchen and lounge area which would allow for views over both pitches that sit either side of a mature avenue of grand Hornbeam trees. The location of the building sits at the confluence of three paths
which creates a naturally strong and clear axis from which to enter the building. After closely reviewing the site and the requirements, AR Design Studio proposed using these three paths to define the building as a three pointed plan which followed each route. Fundamentally, the plan is organised to address both pitches and bring the scattered facilities under one roof. As such, two of the three points contain changing rooms designed to ECB guidelines with covered terraces in front that provide a relaxed and informal viewing platform directed towards each pitch. When not in use, metal sliding shutters will enclose the building, ensuring security and robustness. The third point will house ancillary spaces, such as a kitchen, bar and umpire changing area, all with views over both pitches internally and from covered external terraces. Each of the three points leads towards the main central club room, over which the tapered roof form meets at its centre, creating a focal meeting space for the building.
In preparation for the scheme, AR Design Studio spent time researching the traditional cricket pavilion form; the convention of a pitched roofed building with external covered terraces stood prevalent. Through the development of the scheme this form has been simplified to incorporate the external terrace into the overall form. To further enhance this aspect, AR Design Studio proposed an asymmetric variation which helps to break up the solid nature of the building and allows it to sit comfortably within its surroundings. The three pointed plan reduces the visual scale of the building as its entire form is never read from any single point.
As a further reflection of its surroundings, the pavilion is to be clad and roofed in cedar, which will be allowed to weather to a natural grey finish. This has been selected to allow the building to settle into its parkland landscape, blend with its surrounding trees and minimise the maintenance requirements over the lifespan of the building.
The brief made it clear that the building was to be open to everyone- it was not aimed at just cricketers. With this in mind, AR Design Studio proposed an augmented roofline that draws focus towards the glazed core at the centre of the building and helps to create an inviting aspect to everyone who uses the playing fields.
“AR Design’s concept is really very clever and sensitively conceived. It complements its surroundings, serves both the pitches, will be sustainable, accessible and could also be used for wider community use, too. We really hope Winchester will be as excited as we are and get behind the project.” Mike Caldwell- Head of the Pavilion Project