JW3, The Jewish Community Centre

The Jewish Community Centre (JW3) was a very challenging project, which has since won a number of prestigious awards including regional and national RIBA awards. Many aspects of the design were bespoke and subject to an intensive client / design team approval process. The architectural ironmongery was no different – probably made even more challenging due to a conceptual thread that linked the design and specific finish (bronze) across all elements of architectural metalwork throughout the entire building.

From a main contractor’s perspective, Kate and her team demonstrated why it is so important to have good relationships with specialists – we effectively partnered with Elite to overcome the many technical challenges and work within our tight budget and programme constraints. Every element of bronze ironmongery was scrutinised and, on a number of occasions, new / additional samples were required at very short notice to release other elements of the project to manufacture while the client remained assured their distinctive vision of unique quality would be realised. 

In short, it was a pleasure to work with Elite. I genuinely felt that they did whatever they could to help work through the challenges on this project and I look forward to working together in the future.

Daniel Williams , Project Manager, Bam Construction

JW3 is a new award-winning community centre to serve the Jewish population in London and its surrounding areas, the first of its kind to be built in the UK. The centre was built with the aim to transform the Jewish scenery in London by helping to create a vibrant, diverse and proud community that will be inspired by and engaged in Jewish arts, culture and community for Jews and non-Jews alike. 

The centre, designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects, was built in North London alongside a 10 storey residential tower of 14 apartments. At 114,000 square feet, JW3 has the space to accommodate a number of diverse facilities. Upon entering the centre you are greeted with a multi-purpose hall, which seats up to 300 using retractable seating, a 60-seat cinema and a café, bar and restaurant run by chefs from Ottolenghi and Made in Camden. An acoustic door means the restaurant can be used alongside the hall without noise disturbance. Further up the four-storey building are bespoke spaces for a resource centre, drama and dance studios, arts and crafts studios, learning and meeting spaces, a demonstration kitchen, offices for the organisation itself and an 85 place nursery.

After a decade of anticipation, planning and construction, JW3 formally opened its doors on the 29th. The four storey building was built by BAM Construction at a cost of £50 million; funded privately by Dame Vivien Duffield’s foundation, the sale of the apartments and other private donations. 

The JW3 Centre and the 19,400 square feet residential tower are linked by a 10,764 square feet piazza that provides external space. Works here included hard landscaping, construction of a pedestrian bridge and soft planting. 

The ironmongery was supplied as two separate packages, a contemporary satin stainless steel range for the residential tower and bespoke bronze products for the community centre. The bronze element of the package was the culmination of long and detailed discussions which resulted in a finish and design unique to JW3. Elite was instrumental in developing and manufacturing the architect’s vision, which pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved with a bronze material to attain both the desired form and the intended function. 

In addition to the traditional ironmongery, Elite supplied and installed the automated door operators to the internal doors. These too, were treated to co-ordinate with the distinctive finish elsewhere on the project.

The building is highly sustainable and uses a mixture of passive and active environmental controls such as an innovative natural ventilation system devised to minimise cooling and heating loads, a brown roof, water harvesting and photovoltaic cells. For this the project has been awarded a BREEAM rating of “Excellent”.

JW3 has been nominated for numerous awards due to its innovative, sophisticated and artistic design. The centre was successful in winning the RIBA National Award 2014, the RIBA London Award 2014 and the New London Awards 2014. The project was also shortlisted for categories in the following industry awards: Concrete Society Awards, FX Awards and the RICS Awards 2014.