DLA hands over phase one of the £50m redevelopment of the YMCA Wimbledon

DLA Architecture has completed the design and delivery of a new YMCA hostel which comprises Phase One of this mixed-use redevelopment in Wimbledon Town Centre.

The award winning practice was appointed to design the scheme by joint venture partnership Thornsett and YMCA St.Paul’s Group in 2019 and secured planning consent in June 2021 before starting on site in July 2021.

Transformative works have progressed over the last two years to deliver a new purpose designed building on The Broadway to provide modern living spaces for residents including 121 rooms with en-suite bathrooms and shared kitchens. Residents and the wider community can also share access to new facilities including a gym, a larger exercise studio, a dedicated Reformer Pilates studio and community counselling services.

The DLA team attended a special opening ceremony hosted by the joint venture partnership.  Alongside residents and staff, esteemed guests included The Mayor of the London Borough of Merton, Cllr Gill Manly, Deputy Leader of London Borough of Merton, Cllr Eleanor Stringer, Bishop of Kingston, The Revd Canon Dr Martin Gainsborough, Chair of YMCA England and Wales,  Roy O’Shaughnessy, Secretary General of the World YMCA, Carlos Sanvee, Vice President of YMCA England and Wales, Peter Posner, and former British No.1 tennis player, local resident and YMCA gym member, Roger Taylor.

Alejandro Carrajo, Project Architect and Associate at DLA Architecture, said,

“We are extremely pleased to have been involved in the design and delivery of this very important community asset in Wimbledon. It was very humbling to hear from one of the residents on how her life had been changed by the YMCA and how much of an improvement the new facilities were making too.

“Reflecting on the future needs of occupiers in line with the YMCA ‘s charitable ambitions, we believe that we have delivered a future proof, highly sustainable new facility that aims to achieve a 100% carbon reduction.”

Mitchell Brand, Director of Land and Marketing at Thornsett Group, said:

“We’re delighted to achieve completion on phase 1 of this landmark project which enables us to support vulnerable and young people, as well as offer facilities that will benefit the whole community.

“Having worked with DLA Architecture on the award winning Hackney Gardens project, we were well aware of the team’s design excellence and contextual approach which, in this case, has resulted in a high quality and commercially viable scheme that fits well with the local landscape.”

YMCA St Paul’s Group is a leading provider of youth and community services and one of London’s largest providers of specialist Supported housing. The vision of YMCA St Paul’s Group is to create places where young people thrive and communities flourish.

Richard James, CEO of YMCA St Paul’s Group, said:

“This opening is a milestone moment for us as a YMCA and it is such an honour to be standing in a fantastic new building that will provide resources and support to thousands of people in the weeks, months, and years to come. This project has been over 12 years in the making and marks a new chapter in our almost 150-year history within Merton.

“We’re exceptionally proud that this brand-new YMCA Wimbledon provides 121 places for young and vulnerable people to call home, alongside a range of community facilities, including “our inclusive health and wellbeing services.

We’re incredibly thankful to all our partners who have made this project possible including our developers, Thornsett, our architects DLA and construction partner, Neilcott, and, to the GLA for their £8million grant.”

Contractor Neilcott Construction delivered the development and the design team included planning consultants, Daniel Watney, structural engineers, Elliot Wood, Box 20 as M&E consultants and landscape architect Philip Cave.

DLA Architecture has been established for more than 40 years and employs 91 architectural staff across its offices in London, Leeds, Manchester.  The AJ100 practice offers expertise across a broad range of sectors including learning, sport, industry, care, workplace, housing, retail, conservation and re-use.

DLA has considerable experience in designing new community spaces and housing.  It delivered the award-winning Hackney Gardens, a significant new project comprising community space and housing. The £21 million scheme was an enabling development between Thornsett, The London Diocesan Fund (LDF) and The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St John at Hackney.