• Client: Willow Bank Hospital School / Category: Design, School Shaping, Arts, Community Consultation, Children & Young People

Before designing a space, it is so important to listen carefully to the thoughts of those who will inhabit and use it - especially those who will use it on a daily basis

In the case of a school, students and teaching staff are in there together, requiring spaces that offer optimal conditions for learning - group learning, quiet study, socialising and so on.

Students at this special school experience phobias which had prevented each of them from attending school. When we spoke to them, they felt disheartened and disempowered by their existing building and the unimaginative plans to redevelop it - they certainly hadn't been consulted in any meaningful way.

So we worked with them and their teachers, made visits to see spaces that they liked, which made them feel good. We then created an architect's brief together for a student heart space at the centre of the school, including each of the elements which, for them, were essential or highly desirable for their learning and wellbeing.

The building work is now complete and the students are enjoying the benefit of their input.