Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Case Study: Robin House

By Brittney Mount

Winter break is finally here, but is it really a break? I usually find myself filled with relief when a semester ends, but after that hectic semester and just briefly speaking with my thesis chair I realized this is not a break. I just get to go home instead of studio. This is it. Other than my thesis chair’s guidance, I am on my own for a project. I make the deadlines. That’s reality. We were required to have a first draft of the first three chapters of our thesis books done for our Research Methods course, and chapter two was on case studies so I’m going to share one in this blog.
My thesis is a rehabilitation facility for children with special needs.
Project: Robin House, Children’s Hospice
Location: Scotland, 5.8 acres
This case study relates to the topic of this thesis as it is a children’s hospice, a place that has the accommodations for specialized treatment, emergency treatment, and terminal care for children with life limiting conditions. The client’s description of how they wanted the facility to be perceived was “a welcoming home away from home.” (p.123) It offers not only a place for treatment, but a place for recreation for the patients and their families.

This atmosphere was created through clever design throughout the building, beginning with the choosing of a site that would provoke gorgeous views from certain types of spaces. The site chosen had contours to allow there to be terraced gardens placed throughout that could be easily accessed by wheelchairs (Figure 2.1). This allows for a constant connection to the exterior even from the interior. The program was broken into two wings and two courtyards, keeping the sensitive spaces together and more closed off for sensory purposes, leaving the rest of the spaces very open and brightly and naturally lit.

Figure 2.1

The construction of the facility is made of predominantly untreated larch (Figure 2.2), which is a very light and comfortable material (p. 123). The roof is made of a steel frame to achieve a special ribbon design which was used to allow natural light further into the spaces (Figure 2.3). The design of the roof is also meant to be the buildings identity piece.
Figure 2.2
Figure 2.3
The ribbon effect is also displayed throughout the floor plan giving the visitor a unique journey through the spaces. Along with the use of the soft wood throughout the interior, a soft playful color scheme was also used to appeal to the children (Figure 2.4).
Figure 4
Source: Purves, Geoffrey. Primary Care Centres: A Guide to Health Care Design. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Oxford: Elsevier/Architectural, 2009. Print.

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