Ainsley Gommon Architects


Invited Competition for OnSide




Date Completed

Autumn 2014

Development Overview

OnSide is a charity which is creating a series of youth centres, giving young people quality, safe affordable places to go in there leisure time. Ainsley Gommon were invited to competitively submit a design for a new Youth Zone in Birkenhead for OnSide Birkenhead .

The design aims to provide a contrast to the surrounding context, and creatively utilise a palette of materials, colour and light. Embracing at its core the provision of a fully accessible building, which provides the same experience to everyone who uses or visits the building, irrelevant of ability. The design allows for flexibility and adaptability, security and safety, sustainability and durability.

The interior design is exciting, secure, visually attractive and stimulating. The reception area creates subtle security, while allowing a strong connectivity across the arrival space and beyond into the internal, top lit ‘street’. This ‘street’ slices through the main body of the building providing an attractive and interactive circulation area where activities flow from one space to another, accommodating a variety of flexible spaces for both structured and spontaneous activities. This spacious circulation zone, will enable natural light at high level to penetrate the interior of the building. Glimpses of activities between the different spaces are provided, offering views and encouraging interaction and inclusion. The design incorporates sustainable strategies making the best use of available ambient energy.

The proposals provide a strong visual statement sending a clear message to the users and surrounding community that ‘young people matter’. Through a prominent visual presence by day, and a striking attractiveness at night the building incorporates a happy balance of transparency to show off the inside, while providing security and privacy.