This project was a seminal one for Make – it was our first sporting venue and opened the doors to a host of other exciting sports and leisure schemes.
The Dartford Judo Club is a world-class sport facility and important community resource in one. The purpose-built structure is the first of its kind in the UK and has raised the profile of British judo on the world stage. It’s currently used as a coaching centre for the British Judo Association, and was the official training base for the Team GB Olympic judo squad and several overseas teams in the run-up to London 2012.
The facility includes training areas, changing facilities, club offices, a physiotherapy studio, a drug-testing suite and a dojo with a 180-seat viewing gallery. It’s housed within a two-storey pavilion that elegantly captures the spirit of judo, taking its inspiration from the judo principles of maximum efficiency and mutual benefit. The building is square in plan, evoking the dimensions of a judo mat, and bears a simple palette of black and white, with a red belt running around it – prime judo colours. Together these elements create a calm, uncluttered, clean-cut interior reminiscent of traditional Japanese design.
With its programme of martial arts classes for all ages and abilities, the Dojo attracts a large cross-section of users. Since its construction, it has become a much-loved destination in Dartford and continues to play a key role in the area’s ongoing regeneration.