A community centre in Liverpool for creative food enterprise Squash, this warm and welcoming timber-frame building is clad in Scottish Larch.
In 2014 Squash asked design and research consultancy URBED to help them create a new home for the project on a piece of derelict land in Liverpool 8. The designers worked in collaboration with a community team of local residents including growers, artists, cooks, environmentalists, bee-keepers and passionate vegetable fans who had all been involved in the development of the original idea.
The idea of a community food hub had evolved for some years and since opening in 2018 has become a thriving and popular venue. The timber-frame building is the hub of a warm and welcoming space which includes a community shop selling sustainable, affordable produce, a community-run café serving seasonal, multicultural food and a thriving food garden which is also a popular social destination in the summer.
In addition, Squash runs training courses such as creative nutrition and urban agriculture, cookery, craft and art skills and low carbon living. The community-use kitchen also includes a ‘food lab’ for local food business start-ups.
The building was designed to be environmentally responsible with recycled, re-purposed and re-used materials used extensively throughout. The insulation in the roof and walls is made from recycled newspaper. Recycled glass aggregate is used for the below-floor insulation and the building sports a recycled steel roof.
The shop counter was made from left-over building materials and the garden planters were made from the mesh-fencing that previously surrounded the empty site.
Its high levels of insulation and triple-glazed windows make it both comfortable and cheap to run. Much of the electricity is generated from photovoltaic panels installed on the roof.
The Squash building was constructed with a super-insulated timber frame and glulam beams. It is finished externally with FSC larch timber cladding from Scotland. The timber floor was reclaimed from an original school gym.
Finalist and voted People’s Choice at the Association of Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) Awards 2020
All images: Mark Loudon Photography