CAA are delighted to see the completion and opening of the new “Haven Centre” in Inverness. The centre was constructed by Compass Building and Construction Ltd, with structural and civil engineering design from Fairhurst Consulting Engineers and M&E design from Pick Everard; landscape design by Keith Wood Landscape Design; and Interior design by Interior 35.
The facility was designed by CAA for the Elsie Normington Foundation, an organisation that creates opportunities for children and young adults with severe, profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex needs in the Highlands and Islands. It is the first facility of its kind in Scotland, providing a new multi-purpose space; community café; office and meeting spaces; indoor/outdoor play areas along; and a community garden, along with three on-site respite apartments that are fully integrated into the facility.
The facilities are arranged around a central courtyard, with the centre positioned towards the North of the site to enjoy views across the wider Moray Firth area and residential accommodation towards the south to maximise solar gain and shelter. They are composed as a set of informally configured building elements, such as an entrance rotunda with an inclined plane roof; and a feature canopy with slanted columns. The playful composition is echoed in the building’s relaxed elevational treatment with staggered and offset windows and cladding elements. Principal building masses are expressed in white render and broken up by panels of cement fibre weatherboarding in soft green hues, set within a soft and flowing landscape designed by Keith Wood Landscape Design. Interior spaces, including the community café and specialist indoor play area, were designed by local practice Interior 35 and feature a careful selection of materials, furniture and full wall photography, to give a playful and engaging experience. The choice of massing, composition and spatial arrangement, combined with the careful selection of building materials and landscape features, helps to create a place that feels appropriately comfortable, safe, and inviting.
The Haven Centre has at its core a vision to create a place that children and young adults with profound needs can “call their own,” a specialist place to play and socialise. It works closely with Direct Childcare – which provides specialist play centre support, and Key Community Supports – which provides housing support, short breaks, and community support to adults with learning difficulties – while providing significant opportunities for community integration and volunteering. The centre will be “an inclusive community space, where children and young adults with severe learning difficulties can socialise and grow in confidence and where families can connect and feel supported.” Source, and for more information, visit: www.enfoundation.co.uk