The JW3 is a new award-winning community centre to serve the Jewish population in London. The scheme includes a café, auditorium and screening room, classrooms and exercise rooms as well as a nursery and offices for the organization itself. All these facilities are accommodated in a flexible three storey pavilion set away from the busy Finchley Road that runs along the east of the site to create an intimate, sheltered outdoor space that allows the building and its occupants literally to breathe.
JW3 aims to bring together the organisation’s many and diverse activities into a single building - a meeting point for Jews and non-Jews alike. The building is culture-driven. The complex brief was established from a schedule of user-requirements and a vast programme of long and short-term events.
To accommodate the wide-ranging activities the building has been designed as a pavilion with a high degree of flexibility.
A room that may host a dance class for 40 in the morning may need to be used for an intimate book group of just ten people later that day. The JCC is designed to be a place of action - of creation and output, rather than consumption of culture - and robust, quality materials have been chosen to support the various activities, from a crèche for 75 children to cinema, demonstration kitchen and dance studios.
A multi-purpose hall with retractable bleacher seating and semi-sprung floor will provide event space for 300 guests at seated events, and a theatre and auditorium which supports performance types such as dance, spoken word and theatre.
Locating the services to the rear has resulted in a level of flexibility on each floor, through devices such as folding walls or simply by leaving large flexible spaces open - allowing lighting and soft architecture to define the use and time.
The pavilion articulates the front of the building, providing privacy for the residents behind and a conversation between the activities ongoing in the building and those in the courtyard.
Simple but effective chimneys provide ventilation and permit free night cooling and the positioning of windows primarily on the piazza elevation controls heat gain and encourages inside/outside permeability.
The floor plates and core are arranged to optimise flexibility so that each space can be used for a multitude of activities according to the centre’s own programming.
The building has been designed to be easy to navigate, accessible to all, and very environmentally-friendly, with natural ventilation, a brown roof to encourage biodiversity, rainwater harvesting and solar panels. JW3 achieved a BREEAM excellent rating.