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The Gathering Place

Kilbirnie, North Ayrshire

The Gathering Place is a new community hub located within Kilbirnie Project Park, for Project Kilbirnie. The project is about addressing the need for a more informal gathering place within the town - a social space open to everyone that also supports a wider range of activities in the public park.

The building is designed to accommodate a flexible programme of activities around a central core. A series of public consultations led us to the current building layout which is more about varied use across days and weeks; and a desire to avoid a large hall that can be pre-booked. Instead having a series of interconnected spaces that can be sub-divided in various ways to create a space suitable for particular activities, and activities not yet considered. The central core concept also means that the practical ‘back of house’ facilities are internalised; leaving more open, public-facing activities around the building edge, facing the park.

This flexible plan is about responding to the uncertain future of other facilities in the town but also a sense of agency apparent within the town. While designed to accommodate existing groups and activities the building is also seen as a generator for future local collaborations and projects. An incubator for community projects and ideas, where models can be trialled and refined within a safe space.

Part of this flexible approach includes the option to realise the building over a prolonged period of time. A phased approach means that Project Kilbirnie can develop the space in response to need and capacity, as well as 54available funding and resources.

Lastly, a suite of new and upgraded outdoor facilities will surround the public edge of the building.

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