Year | 2016
Location | Nugget Street, Oldham, Great Manchester

The Glodwick Live Project Team has been working in Oldham, with its client the Ghazali Trust, to extract the greatest potential from its recently acquired site, providing the best possible facilities, and more importantly providing the greatest social value for the community.

The site is the former Glodwick Pool, established in 1976 – a municipal centre that previously provided the community with much needed swimming facilities and a basic gym. Unfortunately, the pool fell into disuse and was eventually bought by the client earlier this year.

The brief was to imagine a future for the pool, and re-invigorate it as a sporting and community hub. The Trust’s holistic ambition aims to cater to people of all ages and abilities, supporting the community’s most vulnerable members. This vision however, is hampered by the restrictive existing plan and difficulties involved in adapting a former swimming pool to serve up a more diverse programme.

Our first steps were to complete thorough research into not only the community and context, but the established stakeholders and funding plan. Key partners such as a boxing club and a table tennis group were known from the outset. Their endeavours would be helped by promised funding from Oldham Community Leisure and potentially the NHS.

We opened up the site to the community one Saturday afternoon and gave them the chance to discuss its future. This engagement with the community proved to be a very exciting opportunity for the residents to share their ideas, and for further stakeholders to come forward.

In designing a vibrant community hub a sense of openness was crucial. This permeated all the design decisions in terms of both encouraging transparency as well as fostering new opportunities.

Consideration of space and programme in much looser terms than the initial brief indicated, opened up many possibilities. We tested the flexibility and functionality of spaces through the imagining of different scenarios within that space.

Although the vision for the site is a radical departure from its initial scope, we have endeavored to ensure viability on the tight budget. The hub brings not only added social value, but also becomes a more appealing offering to the staff at nearby healthcare sites. Spatial flexibility means conferences and larger public events are easily catered for, diversifying the revenue stream. The final vision is organized around a community core that will catalyze the project’s sustainability and viability.

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