Huntingfield Village Hall

The Overview

The Huntingfield Village Hall had reached the end of its life. The brief for this project required the creation of a new high quality village hall to meet the current and future needs of the whole Parish for the next 50 years.

The Challenge

Plaice were commissioned by the Huntingfield Village Hall Committee (HVHC) following a successful competitive interview process. The vision and goals: The new hall should have a civic presence, the building’s identity would be appropriate to the communities which use it and to its immediate context. The building should nurture local connections, providing a focus for community life, and spaces should be designed to encourage other community uses – training, events, leisure activities and a place to meet.

The design team visited the Village Hall on many occasions for specially organised meetings and design workshops for committee members and residents. The findings of the workshop informed the design and layout of our proposals.

We cross-referenced guidelines produced by Sports England for the design of Village Halls with the client’s brief, to ensure that the size of each internal space matched its intended use and occupancy numbers.

The Solution

The siting of the proposed building, curved in plan, visually embraced the existing village green and provided a strong physical link for community activities taking place on both sides of the road. Its location on the site reinforced the social heart at the centre of Huntingfield allowing the creation of a new meeting / amenity place in front of the new Village Hall. The buildings new position was determined to a large extent by an existing mains electrics cable, which cuts the site area in half and thus limits available land that can be developed.

Our general guiding principle was to open up the interior to natural light and provide critical views to a new landscape and, just as importantly, views into the building and the activities taking place to encourage residents to participate in the life of the Village Hall.

The roof formed the centrepiece of this design, where a section of the roof over the main Hall will float, elevated with ribbon glazing. It is hoped this will act as a beacon, drawing attention toward the Village Hall. This new building is taller than the existing village hall, allowing for greater freedom in the choice of activities that can be provided and offered to the community. The main roof has been extended over the main entrance to create a large veranda across the full width of the building, further extending the buildings use during village fetes and offering a place of shade and protection. The pilottis supporting this over-hang create a rhythm and help to accentuate the shape of the building, firmly rooting it to the ground.