East Sussex, England.
Type: Concept retreat
What was the brief?
This project is something that is close to our hearts, it was our idea to create a concept design for a multi purpose retreat / advice centre for children and their family members with autism. The idea was to be able to design a space for families to go to for support and advice, a place to draw on other parents that are in a similar place. There is an increase in the number of diagnoses made each year and very little in the way of support for families, a place where families can meet with and without their children was a key driver for this concept project.
What did we do?
The site for the project was very large and required some division. We began by looking at what was lacking and what was required in the local area. Looing at precedents such as the Maggie's centres for cancer support, we began designing a hub building which could house support meeting, activities and a range of family support facilities. From here we looked at the idea of a main building to relocate all children's mental health services, a space specifically designed to the needs of someone who struggles with the basic elements of life such as light, space and sound. Having a dedicated building to such needs seem to make perfect sense. The site facilitated an independent living building to aid those moving to adulthood and required a basic level of support to live independently. The final element was the retreat aspect to the site. Several large timber clad cabins were dotted along a raised walkway through the trees to facilitate respite for families, a place were they could stay on site for short breaks and have support with family activities or even just a small amount of time for carers when needed. Each element of the build was brought back to a few key guidelines we created in terms of specified needs.