The Fuse is a multi-purpose youth village venue designed in collaboration with young people of Trafford and assisted by the Sorrell Foundation which was set up in 1996 with the aim of inspiring creativity in young people. We were appointed by West Trafford Learning Partnership andthe project was funded through the government ‘myplace’ initiative, the design, derived from the idea of children’s wooden play blocks, has four clearly defined zones: activity; chill; theatre and dance; media and IT.
From the outset of the scheme, the young people of Trafford have been involved with the formulation of the brief, the selection of the site and the development of the concept. The early engagement sessions were facilitated and managed by The Sorrell Foundation. The young people were given full access to the design team, and through a series of educational sessions, were entrusted to make real decisions. The young people then made a formal presentation of the project to the full stakeholder group, who fully endorsed the scheme.
Subsequent engagement sessions have taken place, and will continue to the completion of the project build to ensure that the scheme continues to be shaped by the enthusiasm of those who will occupy and use the building and site. The building has a strong concept which came out of the workshops with the young people. From a number of ideas that were explored, the resulting building is based upon the idea of building blocks – each representing an activity or use – falling onto and resting on the site. These blocks become building zones, clad in materials of different colour and texture, creating a strong sculptural form. The geometry of the building is also represented in the external works design. The name of the centre ‘the FUSE’ is derived from the idea of these activities and blocks fusing together into a single centre. The logo also brings these colours together into a single dynamic form.
The facilities include a 340 seat multi-purpose hall capable of staging theatrical productions, exhibitions and cinema, an activity hall, dance studio, recording studio, IT facilities and general recreational games area. Externally there is a 3G+ multi-use games area, and other recreational facilities.