6a Architects has refurbished and extended a run-down gym in central London to create a new community centre featuring an etched-glass facade by the artist Caragh Thuring.


Johan Dehlin

6a Architects stripped back the basement gym to its concrete structure and extended upwards by two storeys in a £3.4 million project that has allowed the building’s occupant, the Holborn Community Association (HCA), to expand the sports and arts activities it offers to local children and adults.

Skylights bring natural light down into the refurbished basement, a large multi-purpose space for events and sports with changing facilities, while the glazed facade illuminates workspace and club rooms on the two smaller floors above. These rooms are also available to hire and will help to bring HCA income.

The facade created by the artist Caragh Thuring and titled Great Things Lie Ahead (2020), acts as a beacon for the previously hidden-away community centre, which is located off an alley in Holborn. Etched with local brick patterns dating to the 1750s- 1960s and typography, the facade tells a history of the neighbourhood.


The pattern of the historic brick courses can also be seen from the spaces within, where the structure’s white steel trusses have been left exposed alongside the blockwork walls, and paired with green metalwork and cabinetry.


Landscape design practice Dan Pearson Studio has selected planting, including a crab apple tree, to bring life to the Georgian passageway where the building is located, while new signage was created by John Morgan studio – who also collaborated with Thuring on the facade typography.

Additional Images


6a Architects
Caragh Thuring
Structural engineer
Price & Myers
Environmental engineer

Signage & Typography
John Morgan Studio
Dan Pearson Studio
Quinn London
Building Control
Sweco Building Control Ltd
Jones Neville, Nic Rhode
Façade Artwork