The Factory Youth Zone is a youth-led project which comprised the design and build of a modern youth facility designed for young people aged 8 to 21 years old, in one of the most deprived areas in the UK.
The Factory Youth Zone is a not-for-profit, purpose built facility for children and young people with the overarching objective to provide a universal activity-based service, complemented by a range of targeted support services to help and educate young people by promoting their full physical, intellectual and social potential to improve their lives. The facility included a full-size sports hall with a 8m high climbing wall, 3G outdoor sports pitch, dance studio, music and media suites, theatre, arts room and a boxing gym.
Additionally, the Factory Youth Zone housed a fully equipped fitness suite which young people had access to seven days a week where they can take part in dance, arts, climbing, boxing and music classes. One-to-one support and mentoring areas were also provided to allow young people access to advice on training, careers and health issues.
The design is an articulate architectural composition of two large volumes that are linked by a dramatic glazed entrance lobby, which provides a strong visual statement. In contrast, the majority of the facades comprise of colourful, robust and economic panels that give a sense of security whilst providing an easily maintainable façade that is resistant to vandalism.
Attractive and generous circulation spaces link the activity areas with the central open plan spaces at ground floor and are able to offer visitors the opportunity for informal activity as well as the chance to socialise with friends in a bright, open and visually encouraging environment.
One of the key challenges was to provide a facility with a number of different and varying building uses requiring differing and varied environmental conditions. This was overcome by providing low temperature hot water service loops connecting the heat emitting services. These included radiant panels, radiators, trench heaters and over door heaters.
Energy minimisation was also at the forefront of the design and, with the building housing a number of showers within the changing facilities, installing roof mounted solar thermal panels was a sensible solution to reducing the overall energy consumption.
The facility included a full-size sports hall, 3G outdoor sports pitch, fitness suite, dance studio, music and media suites, theatre, arts room and a boxing gym.
The site was awarded with the Considerate Constructors Bronze Award, placing it in the top 7.5 per cent of over 8,500 registered UK sites completed that year.