These spaces, whether enabling or contemplative, follow the comfort principles of prospect and refuge; spaces that provide people with the ability to see out to a clear view from a safe vantage point without being seen. These spaces will be found both within and outside the building – linking landscape and architecture into a unified whole.
We like the idea that counselling rooms have a similar sensibility to a tree house: secure, protected and with views out over the garden or Springfield Park.
The proposal for the new Alder Centre building is a cluster of tree houses overlooking Springfield Park and the Alder Centre’s own gardens set within their own secure boundary. Key activities are provided in the first floor look-out spaces with the spaces in-between allowing light to enter the ground floor, supporting the sense of being in nature.
The approach to the building is through new planting forming part of the hospital’s ‘public realm’. It is designed to slow people down and prepare them for a change of pace. The Alder Centre is seen as ‘an escape to green’ – a ‘wanderable’ landscape which provides a choice of route and a choice of experience through the internal and external spaces.
Inside / Outside
The counselling spaces, group activity room and staff spaces are organised around a courtyard and double-height space in the centre of the lounge. A plan that allows the organisation of the building to be easily read and understood but which also provides each internal space with its own discrete external space; from the small window in the downstairs toilet to the private space outside a counselling room to the full height glazing around the lounge. The view out provides a focus in the distance and allows bereaved family members a view; a form of temporary escape.