Aim 1

To improve communication between the users of Brixton Rec and Lambeth Council/Greenwich Leisure

Aim 2

To respond to users' views in shaping the quality of service being delivered at the Brixton Rec

Aim 3

To improve customer/user satisfaction for the services being provided at Brixton Rec

Aim 4

To improve community engagement for the design and delivery of the service provided at Brixton Rec

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Brixton Recreation Centre is now Grade II listed by Historic England (BRUG) Press Release

Brixton Recreation Centre Users Group welcomes it's listing as 'a building of architectural and historic interest' Brixton Recreation Centre (the 'Rec'), a cherished local public facility, is now nationally listed by Historic England as 'a building of architectural and historic interest'.

The Rec is a landmark in Central Brixton, a hub used by more than 2000 people a day from a very diverse and changing community.

Brixton and Lambeth now have in Brixton Rec a nationally recognised recreation centre of exceptional merit, a positive heritage from a turbulent past and which opens up opportunities for an even more successful future.

The Brixton Rec User Group (BRUG) and users have long appreciated and been proud of the Rec's architectural qualities and opportunities for community activities and social interaction - the six storey naturally lit atrium, the dramatic swimming hall, the huge sports hall, all enable friendships to develop freely.

BRUG is also proud of and honours the achievements of the community clubs that use the Rec.

'The special interest of the interior (of the Rec) is the circulation atrium …'


Historic England's main reasons for listing

* Architectural interest: thoughtfully composed and proportioned, with monolithic masses bought to a human scale at street level, and with sculptural concrete forms.

* Interiors: the atrium and pool hall are dynamic, dramatic and sculptural spaces which optimise natural light, encourage interactivity, and have good-quality materials and thoughtful detailing throughout.

* One of the earliest leisure centres to combine an extensive range of activity areas ...intricately planned around a dynamic, top-lit circulation space, with long views through the building, and incorporating various ancillary facilities which root the building in the urban fabric.

* Specialist facilities: it has three separate pools dedicated to different kinds of swimmers, an unusual glazed sunbathing deck, and a climbing wall rising through the atrium.

* Architect: one of George Finch’s most important buildings and illustrating his socialist principles: to provide well-designed individual activity areas within a very cleverly-planned whole, maximising the space to include the greatest number of facilities for the public, and encouraging interaction between users. 'The special interest of the interior (of the Rec) is the circulation atrium …'

Watch a new short film by Stuart Everitt about the Rec.


Rec:Collection from Marmalade Productions on Vimeo.

Further information Brixton Recreation Centre was opened in 1985, shortly after the second Brixton uprisings.

Past uses include art workshops, Abu Shanti's famed discos, a large restaurant & bar overlooking the swimming hall and a sundeck, as well as sports facilities.

Nelson Mandela chose to visit Brixton in 1996 to a tumultuous street welcome and performances by local schools in the Rec's main sports hall.

BRUG believes the Rec is a vital community resource with the widest range of activities & facilities available for everyone within the community at affordable prices.

BRUG was formed in 2007 when the future of the Rec was under threat. Popular resistance, and a change of Council, saved it.

In 2012 BRUG again successfully campaigned to keep the Rec open.

The link to the full HE report for those who would be interested to read it is here. 

Extraordinarily successful Community Clubs centred in the Rec include Afewee football & boxing club, Brixton Wheelchair Basketballers, Brixton Topcats Basketball teams, x-Pozure Dance Academy, and South London Rollerblades. Afewee football & boxing club

The swimming pool hall is an exceptional space, lofty, sculptural and dramatic, gently top-lit...'

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Exterior Photographs

Architectural Photography by Simon Kennedy;”
















Monday, 13 June 2016

BRUG June Newsletter REC LISTING: YOUR CONTRIBUTION MATTERS


REC LISTING: YOUR CONTRIBUTION MATTERS

Tell Historic England why the Rec is important to you and your community. Historic England is currently considering the application of DOCOMOMO, an international architecture organisation, to list the Rec in recognition of its architectural, social and community significance.

The Council has only guaranteed the Rec's life until 2022, after which its future is
uncertain.

Listing will:

* Help protect the good features of the building like the pool, the atrium and sports hall

* Ensure any major changes have to be more carefully managed

* Oblige the Council to consult fully and justify proposed significant changes

The direct personal support of users and the wider community are significant in Historic England's decision

Please email Philip.Seely@HistoricEngland.org.uk, quote case No. 1434761
copy to recusergroup@btinternet.com
A small selection of comments to date:

The unique architecture of the Rec makes it so grand and enjoyable to come to it. This building is a true gift to Brixton... Never will the equivalent be replicated. BG

The recreation centre is far far more than a building..it is the past, the present and future of what we want both London and Brixton to become. It's is a beacon of hope for human interaction. JY

 
To enable the people of Brixton to go each day into such a wonderful building with its spacious and unifying atrium is so appropriate for many people who of necessity live in cramped spaces is
wonderful and must not be destroyed... VB

(Afewee) and the building have been essential to the integration of children from deprived backgrounds and avoid a repeat in the riots, taking children off the streets from the gang-life. GL

 
Brixton Rec is a integral part of the Brixton community. It is an example of classy functional architecture that offers a broad range of spaces for the 'ordinary people' in a society that should value that. LR

A place for the community to have fun in doing a whole heap of different things, catering for both young, older and all ages in between. A ‘Feel Good Factor'

A building that looked good, a modern piece of architecture,...something for Brixton to boast about, to show off, to prove Brixton was on the up. 414 Club

 
Read Docomomo's application here.
BRUG has submitted a statement strongly supporting the listing of the Rec. Read here.  
Pics by Simon Kennedy
Copyright © 2015, Brixton Rec User Group, All rights reserved.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

BRUG May News Letter 2016

REC LISTING

The international architectural organisation, DOCOMOMO, has applied for the Rec to be listed in recognition of its architectural, social and community significance.
BRUG is has been consulted by Docomomo and the BRUG Committee supports this application.
We believe listing of the Rec will protect its unique architectural features (like the pool, the atrium and sports hall) as well as the huge range of recreational facilities for the future.
A listing would celebrate and recognise the vital role the Rec has played in the cultural and social life of Brixton residents, through a history of turbulent change.
Listing would ensure that any major changes proposed by the Council are more carefully managed, and would have to be explained and justified publicly.
The council have committed to keeping the Rec operational until at least 2022. BRUG wants to know what their plans for the Rec are after 2022.

Tell Historic England (the body that recommends listing) why the Rec is important to you.
Email Philip.Seely@HistoricEngland.org.uk, with the reference 1434761
copy to recusergroup@btinternet.com.
Read Docomomo's application here.
BRUG has submitted a statement strongly supporting the listing of the Rec. Read here. 

New Brixton Rec Forum

BRUG & GLL Rec User Forum held its first meeting in April.
The Purpose of the Forum is to take a positive strategic view of the activities, services, and facilities in the Rec.
The Forum represents the many different types of Rec Users: gym, swimming, racket sports, bowls, exercise classes, over 55s club, community clubs, as well as BRUG and GLL.
12-15 people will attend regularly, with others invited on particular issues. It will meet quarterly.
Darren Pope, Rec General Manager, Geordie Logan, Rec Operations Manager, and Sue Robinson Community Sports Officer attend for GLL and pursue Forum proposals.
Main topics for the next 3 meetings:
Areas for social interaction, e.g.
A cafe
Customer service/ customer feedback and communication strategies.
Bowls- how to increase participation
Read more at here.

Council reinstates consultation with BRUG

Cllr Jack Hopkins, the new Executive Member for Leisure & Regeneration, has reinstated the regular Rec consultation meetings with BRUG. This follows a positive meeting between him and David Duncan, BRUG Chairperson.
The focus of the first meeting in July will be how the rest of the £6m money to make the Rec fit until 2022. The first expenditure was on the new boilers.

Studios 1 & 2 are to be refurbished

A new false ceiling will be put into studio 2 next to the bowling green. The studios brickwork will be covered by dry lining. Some aspects of lighting and ventilation are in need of attention. 

Objections raised to this: 

The red brickwork and the wooden floors are both functional, attractive and in good condition.
They are important in the overall design of the Rec.

Users think changes should be in level 1 studio only which is hot & noisy. Users want a decent silent air con unit. (From Users Survay)

We would ask that GLL respect the architectural integrity of the studio spaces
Please let us know what you think ASAP so we can pass on to GLL.
Email: recusergroup@btinternet.com.
Pics by Simon Kennedy
Copyright © 2015, Brixton Rec User Group, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
recusergroup@btinternet.com 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

New Brixton Rec Forum




Studio 2 with fine brickwork and wooden floors


BRUG & GLL have set up the Rec User Forum. 

The Purpose of the Forum is to take a positive strategic view of the activities, services, facilities in the Rec.

The Forum will represent the many different types of Rec Users: gym, swimming, racket sports, bowls, exercise classes, over 55s club, community clubs, as well as BRUG and GLL. 12-15 people will attend regularly, with others invited on particular issues. It will meet quarterly. Darren Pope, Rec General Manager, Geordie Logan, Rec Operations Manager, and Sue Robinson Community Sports Officer attend for GLL and pursue Forum proposals. The inaugural meeting highlighted the following aims.

• Good communication between users and management. 

• Bring the whole of the Rec building together. Users and management. 

• Improving standards. 

• Ways to encourage more young people to use it 

• Opportunities for sports grants. 

• Consultation on changes within the building.

 Main topics for the next 3 meetings are Areas for social interaction, e.g. A cafe Customer service/ customer feedback and communication strategies. Bowls- how to increase participation All meetings will consider Cleaning Maintenance Building developments/ Future Developments Community events 

Studios 1 and 2 will be refurbished. 

A new false ceiling will be put into studio 2 next to the bowling green. The studios brickwork will be covered by dry lining. Some aspects of lighting and ventilation are in need of attention.


Objections raised to this: 

The red brickwork and the wooden floors are both functional, attractive and in good condition. They are important in the overall design of the Rec. 

We would ask that GLL respect the architectural integrity of the studio spaces

Darren said he will take these concerns to senior management and report back to Forum, the refurbishment of studios will mean a “fresh new look”. studio 2 looked dark and dated, this is the GLL corporate look for all the centres it manages.

Statement in support of application no: 1434761 to list the Brixton Recreation

Statement in support of application no: 1434761 to list the Brixton Recreation Centre, 
27 Brixton Station Road, London SW9 8QQ.


photo Sean Macintosh


Brixton Recreation Centre Users Group(BRUG) supports this application for the listing of the Centre (locally called the Rec).

We request that Historic England considers our support summarised below, in conjunction with this application. BRUG is an independent voluntary organisation of Rec users : - established in 2007 in response to threatened closure; - recognised by Lambeth Council and GLL, the current management; -in 2012 Lambeth Council’s Brixton Central plan suggested possible sale and demolition of the Rec by developers; - after a BRUG led campaign and public meeting in December 2012, the Council leader Lib Peck committed to securing the future of the Rec; - The Council and GLL agreed to regular consultation with BRUG. Social and Community Significance of the Rec: - Brixton Recreation Centre is a vital hub providing a focus for a cohesive and vibrant community; - it is located in the heart of Brixton; - well served by all forms of public transport; - adjacent to well patronised market and eating / entertainment venues; - many diverse communities use the Rec - Afro-Caribbean / British /Latin American and many more; - the Rec is the only place where everyone can meet and interact to develop personal interests and friendships; - the opening of the Rec following the enquiry by Lord Scarman into the riots in the 1980’s, was seen as addressing the lack of sports and leisure provision in Lambeth, especially for young people; - Nelson Mandela visited the Rec in 1996 to address the local community. Upon his death a huge outpouring of thanks and sorrow from all communities was recorded in books of condolence BRUG submitted to the South African High Commission; - several community sports clubs are based in the Rec providing routes to personal growth and sporting success to mostly disadvantaged local kids - Afewee Training Centre run football and boxing activities and several of their young people have represented England in football (Nat Clyne and Rinsola Babajide) and others play for professional clubs; - Topcats Basketball club had many players in Team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games and others have gone on to play in the American NBA; - Xpozure Dance group have had dancers go on to the Royal Ballet, Ballet Rambert and the Brits School. A Local Community Asset : - the Rec is a safe and happy meeting space in an otherwise deprived community; - it is heavily used with on average 76,000 visits every month; - is spread over 6 levels, activities include bowls, 3 gyms, 3 pools, many exercise and dance studios, a huge sports hall,a football pitch, squash courts and nursery and soft play spaces for toddlers; - all the spaces radiate from a light filled central atrium; - the versatility of the design enables spaces to be adapted for a multiplicity of uses - the football pitch becomes a mosque and a Christian church group use a dance studio, while the sports hall has the basketball ,roller derby and racket sports and exam students.

Robyn Dasey (Secretary of BRUG) David Duncan (Chairperson of BRUG)

DOCOMOMO's application to Historical England Brixton Recreation Centre

DOCOMOMO's application to Historical England
Brixton Recreation Centre



Historical Context
The history of the social and physical change in Brixton during the post war welfare
state period is unique because of the scale of immigration, social stress and the
physical decay of existing buildings. Redevelopment was designed and built in response
to perceived needs, sometimes misplaced, sometimes under resourced.
Also unique was the level of ambition by both politicians and architects in striving for a
level of quality for solutions, with sometimes inadequate resources, against and within
a sometimes hostile and ignorant London and National context.
The combination has left a heritage that is flawed but rich in diversity and
achievement. The achievement is there, and it should be celebrated and nourished.
Listing of buildings has a part to play in ensuring that the quality of ambition and scale
is properly recognised despite or because of previous neglect and misunderstanding.
The idea that peoples needs, physical and mental health, education and cultural
pursuits, needed to be addressed by common agreement and action grew through the
19th and early 20th century so that by 1937 (in nearby Peckham) the first Health Centre
came into being. By the 1960s with increased population and the founding of the
Welfare State, the need for Recreation and Exercise in high density deprived urban
areas lacking open space was recognised. Attention was given to swimming and other
forms of exercise that could be done in a confined space and internal recreation with
easy access should receive public investment for the public good.
It was also recognised that the grouping of different facilities together also encourage
interaction, by sharing of facilities, flexibility for change and response to changing
needs. Transport links and the more casual benefits of a welcoming environment with
easy access were recognised. Given the racial nature of much immigration in Brixton, a
physical forum that recognised diversity was a high priority.

2. Location
The lack of available open space combined with the proximity of overhead railways in
central Brixton were problems which led to the ambitious idea for locating the
proposed Recreation Centre at high level next to the railway.
High level location with a ‘safe’ (from cars) pedestrian walkway linking buildings was a
fashionable idea in the sixties stemming from a misreading of Le Corbusier’s planning
ideas (in his schemes he invariably place the vehicles in the air, and left plenty of space
on the ground for the pedestrians) being misapplied to the problems of existing city
centre areas. Here the ambition to link to future high-rise housing that did not
materialise was unfortunate. Where sufficiently large areas are served by walkways (as
at the Barbican) were achieved and maintained they worked well, here in Brixton the
walkways being blocked off have become a contradictory cause of security risk with all
the problems that follow.
However, there are reasons to be optimistic at Brixton. There are multiple means of
both pedestrian and vehicle access/escape to and from the complex which for
understandable reasons have remained blocked and ‘protected’ wit security fences and
gates to maximise access. The proximity of the Police Station to the rear and the
history of the unfortunate social disorder and riots has left its mark and clearly
strangled’ the Recreation Centre for far too long and are a hangover from the past
that should now be re-addressed so that inherent potential for accessible flexible
diversity is released.
The expansion of the adjoining and thriving street market is a clear sign of
regeneration confirmed by recent interest for economic redevelopment. The similar
Borough market at London Bridge and Camden Lock Market have become expanding
areas of regeneration. The Social, Integrated, Diverse population has caught up with
Social,Integrated,Diverse nature of the original architecture of the Recreation Centre.
This is a reason for the opening up and positive reuse of the Recreation Centre along
the line of ambition originally intended, for a new and diverse increased use.
At long last it has the potential to realise its use and not be subjected to removal or
demolition. The modifications needed could be carried out for a fraction of the cost of
demolition and consequent unsustainable energy loss avoided by reopening and
modifying access at many locations on and beyond the perimeter.

External Layout
The high proportion of complex external surface (walkways and walls) some covered,
others uncovered, have inherent problems. However, technology has advanced since
the initial completion and what is now required is imaginative management combined
with imaginative detail design, using many of the surface materials, lighting and
equipment now available which were unavailable or not even invented when the
original scheme was built. Again, the cost of such modifications is a fraction of that
entailed in demolition and rebuilding. Removal of large unnecessary signage and the
introduction of small-scale helpful signs and user-friendly surface materials can
transform a building of the necessary complexity.

Internal Layout
Despite the external misfortunes that have afflicted the outside, many of the diverse
activities within have clearly prospered and are valued by many. The triangular, top-lit
atrium which provides internal circulation while common in building types such as
hotels and shopping malls where a lavish budget in order to impress has a beneficial
pay back, is here robustly softened with brickwork and planting which if maintained,
can eliminate differential humidity and acoustic problems, to achieve a relaxing
balance to active nature of the surrounding physical activities. While falling a bit short
of such a masterpiece as FLW Guggenheim in NYC, the spatial quality of the atrium here
is as good or on a par with that of the listed Crystal Palace Sports Pool atrium and is a
reason for listing BRC.

Materiality
The use of monolithic vibrant contrasting material combinations was again fashionable
when this building was designed, the question is how appropriate and what skill in
deployment was there her? The differing sizes of volume for the differing recreational
uses are deliberately assembled and clearly expressed in a ‘neo-constructivist’ manner
as in the celebrated and listed Leicester Engineering Building 1961 (architects Stirling
and Gowan)
What is significant here is the lack of rhetoric in ‘shape making’ and the simplicity of
the multiple orthogonal shapes which are gathered and mixed in a subtle arrangement
which yields multiple views integrated with the surrounding, while at the same time
clearly a separate ensemble with its own strong identity. It is this characteristic that
gives the total building including the office block part (which on its own has little
individual character) its specific character within the whole. In comparison with
celebrated Economist Buildings, St James’ Street 1961 (by the Smithsons) the
deployment of blocks is tight and vibrant. And this characteristic merits listing for this

achievement.