Wigan Life Centre

The Wigan Life Centre Project has a rich mix of functions to create a new public facility. Due to the unique nature of this brief, we felt the opportunity exists to create a new place and tie it together with this new concept for delivering the services to the local community.

Therefore the design, function and branding were crucial in embedding this facility into the community. This major PFI win is a one-off commercial and community project that is part of Wigan's wider regeneration and transformation.

The design team, in collaboration with astudio were tasked to develop a scheme for a new civic quarter in Wigan, with a wide-reaching effect on the town's perception and function. This masterplan project focuses on the urban, cultural and civic regeneration of the city.

The PFI project for Wigan Council involved the demolition of an existing swimming pool and constructing two new city centre buildings close to the town hall. The 5,358m² Information and Learning Zone building features a 'one-stop shop' for council services, a library, a council's property shop, and neighbourhood zone offices. The 14,820m² Healthy Living Zone building features a 25-metre swimming pool, a gym and primary care trust facilities.

The Wigan Life Centre Library is part of a larger PFI project consisting of two buildings and two new piazzas on either side of Wigan Town Hall to create a new civic quarter in the heart of the Wigan Town Centre Conservation Area.

This Information and Learning Zone Facility is built on a former car park and fronts onto an extending piazza incorporating the existing "Wiend", an area of public open space created in the early 1970s following the clearance of a dense maze of buildings, and includes remnants of some of the town's oldest street patterns.

This glass-fronted, steel-framed building sits behind the retained facade of the listed Municipal Buildings to its other principal elevation facing Wigan Town Hall. Separated by a glazed light-well, the new building lightly touches the old. This deliberate move has allowed the modern and the historic site to sit side by side.

The design exploits the level difference across the site. The public entrance off Wiend Piazza brings visitors into the building at the first-floor level and principally serves the One Stop Shop. The entry at the ground floor from Hewlett Street and through the retained facade is at the first floor level in the building and is the principal entrance for the Library. The building is mainly open plan and is light and airy. The four floors, including a Library and mezzanine, interconnect by a glazed atrium providing good natural light throughout. Glazed handrails around the voids enhance the feeling of openness.