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Architecture practice to turn derelict toilet block into a space that will tackle men’s loneliness

Stockport based architecture practice Dash Architecture had plans approved by Stockport Council last week, which will see them transform an unused toilet block into a community hub to help fight loneliness.

The venue, in Woodley Precinct Stockport, is not in use and currently stands empty. Dash Architecture will lead on the works to transform the space into a base for voluntary group, Stockport Community Shed, who are part of the UK ‘Men’s Shed’ movement. The movement aims to use sheds to enhance social connections, friendship, companionship and camaraderie.

The space will help facilitate and develop relationships between its members by helping like-minded people meet. The design generates an open and free flowing naturally well-lit workshop space, which will provide relaxed and incidental opportunities for talking with someone to share your worries.

The architectural proposals will re-elevate and redefine the identity of the building structure. The team’s cost conscious but strikingly effective solution will ‘wrap’ the existing building in timber rainscreen battens, creating a ‘hit and miss effect to both the walls and pitched roof. This includes large actuated rooflights which negate the need for traditional lower level windows which in turn maximise wall storage. Other modern materials such as black framed windows and corrugated black steel are deliberately contrasting and provide a 21st century reinterpretation of a modern tool shed or workshop.

The material used will be durable to resisting anti-social behaviour but still enduringly progressive.

Nigel Crompton, Principal Architect at DASH Architecture says, “For a long-time research has shown the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on a person’s health and wellbeing, this has only been amplified during Covid and therefore, we think it’s more important than ever for a space such as Men’s Sheds to pop-up.

As a profit-for-purpose architecture practice, we want to do everything we can for the community.”