Sessay Community Hub

Despite its rural location outside Thirsk, the North Yorkshire village of Sessay is well-known in the area for its sports teams: the cricket club, founded in 1850, has won the National Village Cup several times. In 2014 the RIBA ran a design competition for a new village hall, a multipurpose space to be shared by the cricket and bowls clubs, community groups and local school. Our shortlisted scheme took a landscape-led approach, re-ruralising what is currently a linear village.

The new buildings are integrated with a richer landscape of meadows and planting that focusses on the rural rather than the road, and captures views to the surrounding hills. We looked at how we could create a building of appropriate civic stature within that landscape, developing a cluster of four low-lying pavilions. These are seen as a unified form in long-range views but break down to a more human scale as you become closer.

Each has a specific purpose as sports changing, lounge or meeting place, and looks out onto either pitches or playgrounds. The structure of each pavilion describes its volume, supporting a pitched roof to encourage natural stack ventilation through the lantern at the top. All four are raised on a plinth of local brick and have large overhangs to give external shelter. Landscape architects: Kinnear Landscape Architects Structural engineer: Elliott Wood Environmental designer Ritchie+Daffin