Architects get in touch with their inner chi

Architects get in touch with their inner chi

9th October 2013


ARCHITECTS have tapped into their inner chi to produce empathetic designs for a special project.

Niven Architects have drawn up a scheme to provide nine individual apartments for residents with learning difficulties at the Camphill Village Trust’s Larchfield Community at Hemlington.

And to fit in with the facility’s Steiner principles of holistic education and development, architects have taken an organic approach to design.

The courtyard complex features individual rooms and also a communal kitchen, lounge and sitting rooms.

In a Western version of the Chinese feng shui, the designs avoid sharp angles which could dissipate positive energy. Door-heads are curved and the whole complex is designed to have a subliminal positive impact on residents.

The Camphill Village Trust provides homes for people of all abilities within a supportive community environment.

In partnership with Middlesbrough Council, it offers residential and day facilities for about 35 adults offering them the chance to develop new skills and healthy social relationships.

It specialises in holistic care for residents with physical and mental disabilities with many working the land and selling the produce in a shop and café.

Many of the residents have had a hand in the design process of the new facility with the brick and timber-clad buildings set to blend in perfectly with the Larchfield Estate.

The £1.25m scheme has recently been granted planning approval and work is scheduled to start at the end of October.

Director of Darlington-based Niven Architects Simon Crowe said: “It has been absolutely fascinating working with residents. There is huge variance in the degrees of their disability which raises a diverse range of design issues.

“They have all been a delight to work with and I think we have learned a great deal as designers.”

Fellow director Siobhan MacMahon added: “They did some wonderful drawings allowing us a clear insight of their wants and needs. Projects like this certainly open your eyes as a person and broaden your horizons as an architect.

“We are really looking forward to the project getting under way and creating something special which will help with the excellent work of the Camphill Village Trust.”

News in October