Sustainability a Key Aspect of new Village Hall

Lakeview Village Hall - BBM Architects

BBM Architects were appointed as architect for a new village hall within the rapidly enlarging neighbourhood of Great Easthall to the northeast of Sittingbourne in Kent. For the new building, named by local residents as Lakeview Village Hall, BBM’s pitch was to create a ‘marker on the map’; to provide a visual and community focal point within its emerging townscape and landscape setting.


The village hall is largely built out of timber. The architects were keen to exploit the sustainability credentials of wood as it is a grown material of minimal processing energy with little pollution and best of all it is composed of locked carbon generated by the tree’s absorption of carbon dioxide. The use of timber products includes the structurally insulated panels (SIPs) of the external walls, the glulam softwood structural frame, the oak shakes of the ‘light canons’ and the glulam coppiced sweet chestnut of the external wall cladding. We felt the coppiced sweet chestnut was a perfect choice as it is not only grown and processed within the Kent and Sussex Weald, it also pays homage to the hop poles that used the very same wood source and that were so prevalent in the landscapes around Sittingbourne. Internally, the Granwood floor blocks are formed of a wood/cement composite as are the acoustic ceiling panels.


The concern for sustainability ensured Lakeview Village Hall is kind to the environment. It does this through Careful design for passive solar heating and ventilation and ample levels of natural daylighting. It is also constructed of materials of low environmental impact and accommodates high levels of ecological value within its built form and landscape design. The landscape and even the building itself include a range of features to support a rich ecological diversity of fauna and flora.


Anticipating the needs of the future, BBM were mindful to create a building that would easily accept change and expansion. There was always a hope that the building could at some point in the future provide changing facilities for the playing fields to the south of the village hall. The design anticipated the layout of a building being added on its southeast side. The plant room and utility connections were sized to allow this to happen as well. Additionally the external canopy would serve as a covered link to a future building potential on the west side. Along the north side of the site, the car park can be extended to meet an increased parking demand. The large ‘light canon’ has a significant southwest facing pitch which the designers envisaged to allow for the future fitting of a photovoltaic (solar electric) array.


BBM and the rest of the design and client team are hopeful the Lakeview Village Hall will provide a great home and focus for neighbourhood events and parties well into the future. As part of the wider aspirations from the very beginning of the project, we hope the new facility will stimulate a sense of place and belonging to the residents of Great Easthall, be a ‘marker on the map’ in terms of architectural presence and at the same time be a good custodian of its local ecosystem and minimise environmental impacts in its use and construction.



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