The recently completed Castle Centre at Elephant & Castle, south London is one of the first major public projects to be completed within the Southwark masterplan drawn up for the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle area.
The new centre was built by Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish & Southern Limited, and provides state of the art sport and leisure facilities that are fully accessible to everyone. Developed as part of a new public open space that includes the existing St Mary’s Churchyard which incorporates a fully refurbished children’s play area, the centre provides a new focal point for the community.
The facilities include:
The building has been developed so that its internal functions are clearly legible from the outside. The entrance is located at the site’s most prominent location, where the building extends out into the public realm, a gesture intended to welcome people to the new centre.
The plans uses a ‘pin wheel’ model where different uses of the leisure centre are recognisably independent but come together to create a new central courtyard space. This courtyard space has a large glazed roof, filling the space with natural light. Extensive internal glazing allows glimpses into the pools and gym. At ground floor, the space allows for large groups to gather, and people to relax before or after activities. The main staircase provides a dramatic feature as it winds up through the building, giving access to the gym, studios and sports hall.
The building’s massing has been developed to create a transition between the 44-storey Newington Butts residential tower currently under construction to the south west, the newly completed 37 storey One the Elephant residential tower to the east and the existing low rise Victorian housing on Brook Drive to the north. The building steps up to approximately 3 storeys as it nears St Mary’s Churchyard open space, to offer good views of the park from inside and ensure good visibility of the leisure centre from Newington Butts. The highest part of the building rises to approximately 4 storeys, facing onto One the Elephant.
SPACE & PLACE worked in association with John McAslan and successfully completed the project, opening its doors to the public in May 2016.