Project Showcases: Beatlie ASN Campus and Caudwell International Children’s Centre

This webinar took place on Wednesday 17 March, 11:00 – 12:00

Context

This webinar included presentations which explored the importance of adaptable spaces recognising how the built environment can influence well-being, as well as how technology can generate inclusive experiences.

Drawing designs of proposed architecture

Design Sketches

 

Beatlie’s Inclusive Design and Technology

West Lothian Council, NORR Architects and Wardell Armstrong Landscape Architects are some of the bodies and organisations collaborating on the internal and external components of the Beatlie Additional Support Needs Campus. This project aims to create sophisticated, adaptable, multi-sensory and multi-purpose spaces which promote inclusion.

Manipulating the building’s existing layout will enable a stronger visual connection between indoor and outdoor settings, storage space and improved acoustics better suiting these learners’ needs. A space has also been designed called ‘The Hive’. This will used both collaboratively and personally for reflection, and will incorporate biophilic design producing a light and airy environment. Although interior design plays a significant role in enhancing learning experiences, so does technology. Utilising digital resources which generate a two-way interaction between the technology and the user is not only stimulating and engaging, but also offers choice, independence and empowerment. Virtual reality devices and backlit panels on walls and ceilings may stimulate all, or most, of our senses generating a fun and inclusive experience for all. For instance, vision via graphics may provoke imagination; use of a scent diffuser may stimulate one’s sense of smell. Mobile sit/stand desks may additionally offer benefits; these are battery powered, provide charging portals, are adjustable in terms of height so suit whatever activity the learner is undertaking.

Caudwell International Children’s Centre

Registered in 2000, Caudwell has helped over 50,000 children with over 650 conditions. Caudwell provides practical and emotional support through compassionate services, including family support, skills and training, autism awareness, treatment and therapy.

The new centre was completed in 2019; however prior to this, information was gathered for the new build using a personal-centred approach where stakeholders, professionals and families explored needs and daily challenges. Findings were grouped into word banks which determined the design of each space (e.g. ‘free but safe’, ‘exciting but calm’). A key objective was to ensure that spaces were flexible and easily changeable. For instance, in the assessment rooms adaptability was essential. Prior to the young person’s visit, a profile was built to understand their needs. Using a white canvas with clear visibility to external green spaces, Caudwell developed and integrated a specialist lighting system which would produce a colour tailored to the individual’s wishes. The attention to detail in these rooms went as far as incorporating adjustable furniture in terms of height, and toys to create an interactive and enjoyable experience. Moulding environments to individual needs helps to promote independence and confidence to learn ways to manage their condition.

Both presentations acknowledged that the learner and their needs must be at the heart of the design. Both projects aspire to ensure the end user feels comfortable and supported, both physically and mentally, in their environment in order to flourish.

 

Holly Passmore - Thought Leadership Consultant Step Connect2

Written by Holly Passmore, Thought Leadership Consultant, Step Connect2

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