Menzieshill Community Hub
ARCHITECTURE: Public Building
Dundee City Council
Menzieshill, a district in Dundee, was once recognised by the five 15 storey towers, housing over 440 residents, that formed the centre of this residential neighbourhood. The complex, designed in 1963, provided a range of community and social amenities within the ground floor levels of the towers, linked to a purpose-built community hall. When the last of the towers were demolished, and residents rehoused, the visual landscape of the neighbourhood was changed dramatically, with only the existing community centre remaining, surrounded by a derelict waste ground.
Working directly with the Council, Holmes Miller have developed a masterplan which aims to re-energise the ‘heart’ of Menzieshill, bringing a community focus back to the area. The Council were progressing plans to replace the existing primary school to the South of the site, and, owing to proximity to Ninewells Hospital, there was an opportunity to bring non-acute healthcare to the North. These new buildings would be supported by a redesigned community centre, which would link education and healthcare, creating a vibrant and inclusive new civic quarter. The masterplan extended to propose a linear park, linking all buildings, encouraging parents and children to walk to school, and residents to use the spaces for relaxation and socialising.
The completion of the new Community Hub, marks the first phase of implementation of the masterplan, bringing the start of the linear park, and including a new community garden, where residents, school pupils and staff can become involved in horticulture, ecological studies and food production. The building is a direct result of the consultation held with key user groups, to understand their aspirations, and ensure the design offered flexibility for the variety of organisations that would use each space.
A new library now allows the elderly to take part in courses on ‘Internet and Social Media’, whilst also acting as an extension of the children’s library in the neighbouring primary school. The upper floor café offers views across Tayside and is being actively run as a social enterprise kitchen, employing and training teenagers and adults with learning difficulties. The community rooms host bridge classes, ante-natal groups and a creche, whilst the larger halls can host badminton competitions, and the important Menzieshill Burn’s Supper.
The architecture aims to be civic and welcoming, however it is the vibrancy and creativity of the spaces within, that offers the reassurance, that the community heart has been returned to this neighbourhood.