Completed in March 2008, Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) is a bespoke community media centre located at the heart of one of Bristol's most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The charity provides access to digital media opportunities for young people and has become a hub for regeneration in the area.
Replacing a 1950s doctors’ surgery, the centre is the second largest straw bale building in Europe. ModCell straw bale panels form the exterior envelope of the building, providing insulation levels 3 times higher than the current building regulations require. Natural ventilation is operated automatically on a building management system (BMS) via full height glazing and rooflights. The building has a biomass boiler, rainwater harvesting system and a sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS).
Known as "Archimedia" during the development stage, the project involved local young people in a core group whose views and decisions helped influence the design of the building. The centre has become a focal point for the Knowle West community and was recognised in the RICS Awards 2009 when it won the South West Community Achievement award.