COMMUNITY CASTLE

A new model for a rural community centre that uses the structure of a historic castle to integrate social spaces, a performing arts venue and a diverse range of sporting facilities to create a vibrant new focus for village life.

Rear view from the cricket pitch; showing the terrace, tiered seating and large glazed doors to the 'Great Hall'.

Main approach

Section through the 'Great Hall'

Section through the 'Great Hall'

Section through the tiered seating and bar

Section through the tiered seating and bar

VILLAGE HALL / LANDSCAPE / SPORT & LEISURE / COMMUNITY / COMPETITION

RIBA Competition for Sessay Community Hub / North Yorkshire / 2014

Yorkshire is a county of castles. From Middleham to Skipton, Richmond to Ripley, bold buildings rise from the landscape: each designed to shelter and protect its community. The castle keep, with distinct buildings for diverse functions, is an excellent model for a community hub.

Sessay Community Castle combines practicality and accessibility - generous facilities, carefully considered routes and economically designed spaces - with a vibrant sense of fun. The building’s terracotta-faced keep and turrets accommodate distinct and flexible rooms for a range of activities. It's a flexible, modern castle designed to foster an energetic and engaged community.

The castle's key interior space, the Great Hall, is oriented towards a stage, with the local scenery creating a dramatic backdrop. The hall's large glazed doors can be flung open to enjoy performances from outside, or to watch matches from the shelter of the hall over a nice cup of tea.

The castle's broad external staircase provides raked seating and access to the raised garden and light to the meeting room below.

Participation is at the core of the design. The castle fosters a sense of engagement, with spectators and players all part of the activity. 

Site plan, showing the 'Community Castle,' cricket pitch and sports facilities and 'moat' landscaping

Site plan, showing the 'Community Castle,' cricket pitch and sports facilities and 'moat' landscaping

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

First floor plan

First floor plan