New London Awards 2021 Winner - Nourish Hub
Winner of the COMMUNITY PRIZE and the MAYOR'S PRIZE
Mayor's Prize in association with the Mayor of London
Nourish Hub is a mixed-use community food hub where learning about cooking and health eating - as a common social activity - connects diverse cultures, teaches meaningful skills and brings local people together. Funded by the GLA and housed in a vacant Post Office owned by LBHF - the Hub offers opportunities to those of all backgrounds; from employment in catering to volunteering, skill-sharing and cooking classes. UKHarvest - a not-for-profit charity on a mission to eliminate hunger and food waste through education - will manage the Hub for 3 years, before handing it over to the community.
From the outset the team sought to create opportunities for learning and to empower residents to take ownership of the space. A programme of public engagement included a paint and planting day, a pop-up kitchen, and design workshops at a local youth centre - the fruit and veg patterns made by young people at these events were used to create the interior identity of the Hub.
This is UKHarvest’s first permanent space, but the design draws on years of experience in food education. Getting people through the door is the first challenge, so the Hub has an open and welcoming relationship with the street, incorporating servery windows, direct views into the kitchen and a generous 3x4m sliding opening.
Inside there are two kitchens serving different functions - a fully-fitted catering kitchen for professional training and batch cooking; and a teaching kitchen, more domestic in look and feel, with cooking stations for people of all ages and abilities. Other more modest design features enhance participation - open shelves arranged around the space encourage visitors to grab a plate and get involved; while a flexible curtain provides privacy for those with different needs and cultures.
LBHF has the highest dependency on food banks in London and there is a huge proportion of people who are food insecure. The Hub will feed 200 people each day, whilst offering jobs and training to help local people improve their diet and access jobs in the food industry. It’s a democratic social space, which will have a public programme offer tailored to meet demonstrable community need. During construction, the project was a pilot for LBHF for social value delivery. The wider project funding pot also enabled delivery of associated sustainable drainage, cleaning, freeing and growing works.
International Jury Quote
Food is the equaliser. It brings diverse communities together. Food insecurity is a pressing issue and for architecture to address social problems is important. Impact on society is great.