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Landmark children’s centre one of London’s architectural greats

The grand opening of a landmark building for children which has been created by award-winning designers will be held up as an example of great architectural significance during London’s Open House Weekend. (Saturday, 18 September to Sunday, 19 September.)

Designed by Knox Bhavan Architects, winners of the RIBA Award 2010 and Grand Designs Award 2010, the high quality and distinctive wood-clad ‘Mulberry Centre’ includes a children’s building and One O’clock Club and will provide childcare for children primarily under five years of age, as well as a range of other activities and services running from mornings to early evenings throughout the week.

The state-of-the-art centre was funded by Lambeth Council, the Henry Smith Charity, and various donations and is part of a family of buildings in Myatt’s Fields Park which includes a Victorian bandstand and summerhouse. Families and children of all ages are invited to attend tours of the centre, as part of the grand opening which has been selected by Open House London’s ‘Open House Weekend’, a two-day annual event that encourages Londoners to appreciate breathtaking architecture from across the capital.

Families and children of all ages are invited to attend tours of the centre’s main children’s room, parent’s training room, staff kitchen and office and toilet facilities, throughout Saturday’s grand opening and again on Sunday. Tours will begin from 10am-1pm on both days. On Saturday, there will be a Caribbean barbeque and a performance on the park’s bandstand by Afro-Cuban band ‘Cuartato Lokito’ from 1 to 3pm, with free refreshments from 3 to 5pm in the children’s building, and a formal opening ceremony at 3.30pm, attended by the Myatt’s Fields Park Project Group, Lambeth Council officials, and local dignitaries.

Lindsay Avebury, chair of Myatt’s Fields Park Project Group, which has led the campaign for the new building, said: “The local community got together almost ten years ago and decided we must have a new One O’Clock Club. The old one was very cold in winter, and wasn’t big enough to hold the numbers that need to use it. We are delighted that the building is ready and look forward to all the wonderful activities that will be offered to local families.”

Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Service, Councillor Pete Robbins, added: “Children deserve the best start to life and this breathtaking building, which we created in partnership with One O’clock Club staff, the local community, and architects, is a testimony to Lambeth’s determination to ensure this happens. I’m delighted with the finished product as I’m sure families and children who attend the grand opening and use its services in the future will also be.”

The design for the building was drawn up in consultation with local people and One O’clock Club staff during a three-day course organised by the Glasshouse Community Led Design, a registered charity that supports and encourages better working partnerships between communities and professionals who are working together to improve the quality of their neighbourhoods.

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