A community centre for East London Black Womens' Organization (ELBWO) in Newham, East London. We added a new hall to the 19th century Methodist church hall, intensifying the relationships between the interiors and the courtyard; creating a more yard-like architecture, one defined by a verandah and its relationship with sunlight and a line of existing, mature trees. The design process was informed by intense collaboration and consultation, with Derek Walcott's 1965 poem, 'Verandah' acting as a touchstone for the conversations that led to the final building project.
The new hall and deck amplified the typological image of a "Yard", typical of Caribbean settlements. It was classed as a new building and was thus exempt from VAT.
The new facades acted as series of sociable thresholds, formed by making spaces for people to gather, especially during the summer school holidays, when the centre became a busy creche. Sadly, this new face was unacceptable to some, and the centre was destroyed by arson only a few months after it opened in 2004.