Right up my alley

Artist Caragh Thuring by her work
Artist Caragh Thuring by her work

A new community centre in Holborn is helping to change the way such spaces are seen. Holborn House, in Emerald Street, an alley off Lamb’s Conduit Street, takes a fresh approach to the community centre ethos with a design by local architects 6A and a built-in artwork by Caragh Thuring called Great Things Lie Ahead, consisting of etched glass on the frontage.

 “The words are from all parts of the community – past and present – etched into the glass,” says Thuring. The effect is to give a building that can be read – quite literally – and as it is on a narrow alley, that draws people in to read it. The point is, she says, to be “both historic and welcoming”.

London is a city of bricks, says Thuring. “I’m inspired by them. Bricks are both manmade and natural – and the Georgian houses and warehouses in the area are all made of them. So I wanted to make something timeless, referring to bricks and through them, mapping the history of the area.” 

The building, which is for all ages, continues the theme within, with brick-printed linen lining the main hall. 

Paul Crozier, the director of Holborn Community Association which runs the community centre and the 1A Centre on Rosebery Avenue, says that it hopes to raise the game of community centre building.

 “One of our ambitions is to make a space that stands up and bring worlds together,” he says. “The term ‘community centre’ sometimes comes with a bit of a label. We want to say that they’re worth taking as seriously as any other building.”

Holborn House is at 35 Emerald St, London, WC1