The Yaa Centre provides a new home for the Carnival Village Trust, in a quiet mews in Maida Vale, West London. The centre is a base for the Association of British Calypsonians, Ebony Steel Band and Yaa Asantewaa, a group of black arts organisations that play an important role in The Notting Hill Carnival.
Dedicated to the promotion of Carnival Arts, the new space accommodates workshops, teaching rooms, rehearsal and performance facilities, exhibition spaces, an internet cafe, a bar, kitchen and administrative offices.
The building combines a new extension with an existing stable block that was previously in use as a factory. As a place for ‘making’ it retains the original industrial aesthetic of the site, with an exposed steel and concrete structure and a cor-ten steel facade that provides a high level of acoustic protection to nearby residences. A large central atrium space provides a heart to the building, which is used for rehearsals, large-scale fabrication, informal performances and parties. In the mews outside, external paving is laid in different colours of resin-bonded gravel that complement the building colours in a pattern based on traditional Ghanaian textiles.
The building incorporates a number of sustainable technologies, including rainwater harvesting, swift boxes and a bio-diversity roof. Large triple-glazed rooflights with external solar shading maximise internal daylight levels whilst limiting solar gain.