pH+ architects London : Working on behalf of the London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy (LCCCP), pH+ architects have received planning permission for an extension to their new premises, in the London Borough of Haringey, which will transform the way the charity works with children and the wider public. The children, young people and wider community will benefit from a range of new services and facilities, including a hydrotherapy pool, which have been funded by the generosity of private foundations.
Through a lengthy consultation process, the architects have worked with the charity to develop a centre with an inclusive design; one that helps children in particular develop in a series of differing environments designed to stimulate the senses through sounds, smells, light and varying surfaces. The architecture therefore becomes a tool to nurture young children. For example, ramps and lifts are important for accessibility but stairs will be employed at various key moments as part of the children’s walking programme. An external walkway wraps around the building, offering views out to the woodland landscape and allowing for movement through the fresh air. This walkway is enclosed by a timber screen which itself becomes a giant xylophone for children to play with. Sections of the cladding will be reflective so that children can observe their own movements.
Inside, the hydrotherapy pool, flexible-use therapy and meeting rooms, and a community hall space will provide new facilities for the local community, as well as the charity. There will be a dedicated Hub where parents and carers can access vital information, meet to support each other and receive training courses on a range of relevant issues, such as navigating the Special Educational Needs (SEN) framework. In addition, LCCCP will continue to share its expertise in the wider community, by supporting children in mainstream schools and training the professionals that work with them.
The landscape, designed by BD Landscape Architects, is as important as the classrooms for providing spaces for learning. The gardens around the Centre have been designed, at their core, to capture children’s imaginations. The outdoor spaces will be divided up into different accessible play areas including a woodland adventure garden, a sensory garden, a mud kitchen, growing gardens, a dragon mound and an amphitheatre. Two of the Centre’s roofs will be transformed into upper level sensory gardens.
Andy Puncher, Director, pH+ said: “Working with the LCCCP has been a long and enriching process. We have worked closely with the Centre and its pupils to develop a series of spaces that will provide the optimum learning environment. We’re so proud to work on a project that shows how design can directly affect lives.”
Jo Honigmann, Chief Executive LCCCP said: “The new Centre will be an vibrant and harmonious space, the perfect new home for expanding our services and life-changing work. Its fusion of science and nature complements the work of Conductive Education, where the body’s natural ability to learn is supported through specific, practical techniques. We are very grateful to Haringey Council andall our funders who have supported our capital appeal to-date.
The LCCCP’s previous home in Muswell Hill was built in the 1950s and was no longer fit for the Centre or able to accommodate the growing need for disabled children’s support services needs – approximately 1 in 400 children experience a neo-natal brain injury resulting in one of the forms of cerebral palsy. This equates to roughly 350 of all children born in London every year. The developers, SaS Investments, who owned the site found the new premises for the LCCCP and generously funded the refurbishment of the existing school building last year.