The aim of the RIBA’s Neighbourhood Nurseries competition was to reclaim Firth Park in Sheffield for the community. The park, located in an urban neighbourhood, was underused, and our design provided a flexible building to encourage secure community use.
The brief was part of a masterplan and required that provision be made for a nursery, new community facilities, changing facilities for people using the existing tennis courts and bowling greens, and accommodation for park rangers. Following a number of visits to the site Walters & Cohen further extended the brief to include a place for people to congregate and appreciate the park in all weather conditions. A generous entrance area provides the public with a multi-purpose space for meetings, exhibitions and a community café.
The scheme comprises two wings separated by the main entrance and café. The north wing, facing the town, is a community centre. The nursery is located in the west wing and opens onto a private garden to the south.
Walters & Cohen was chosen as joint winner with Panter Hudspith by a jury including Richard Rogers, Sir Nicholas Serota, Sunand Prasad and early years expert Dr Margy Whalley.