25/06/2016
Transitional Living Center
NOERO ARCHITECTS
South Africa
The Transitional Living Center represents a stepping stone from institutional to community based care for people with intellectual disabilities or mental illness.
Site Development: The center is designed along a street which runs parallel to the east west axis of the site. The street structures movement and organizes the accommodation along its length. The Building as a City: A generating idea for the organization of space is to imply the order and structure of a city. This approach was adopted for two main reasons. Firstly it could offer another way of reading the center as an institution. Secondly it would bring the idea of living and the city into focus and offer ways of understanding the world outside the center. Spatial Organization of Building Program: The units of accommodation have been differentiated and have been organized around separate courtyards – each courtyard is secure and all spaces are universally accessible. Productive Landscape versus Communal Spaces: Communal courts alternate between the units of accommodation. These spaces are treated as productive landscapes which the residents control. The idea of shared production spaces could foster a strong sense of community and togetherness. Also these spaces could be used to emphasize the dignity that is associated with labor. Three units of production are proposed – an orchard, a vegetable garden and a flower garden. Accessibility: All spaces would be designed around universally accessible principles. Architectural Space: The intention will be to make spaces that are comfortable and familiar – by this we mean that the scale and size should be comprehensible and understandable. Response to Climate: The buildings must be designed to be comfortable and low cost to maintain. It is the author’s opinion that the use of technology locally has developed as a response to imported cultural norms that are not necessarily appropriate to the local climatic conditions. It is proposed that the technology employed is drawn from an understanding of local conditions and uses local materials to achieve the desired effects. Insulation of all internal spaces is fundamental – this applies equally to summer and winter. All external walls must be made of local clay brick – the cavity walls of all external walls must be insulated. Roofs should be made from lightweight material such as local s rib corrugated aluminum sheeting which should be painted white for reflectivity and the ceiling space must be well insulated. Finishes and Textures: Finishes will be chosen to help develop an understanding about the different functions associated with living in a house. Texture is important and a language of textures related to different spaces and their uses is essential. Natural Light: A continuous roof-light runs at the apex of all roofs. This roof-light is not apparent from below as it is partially hidden by the ceiling. This device is not expensive and will add to the experience of the space by washing the back walls of all units with natural light. This will add life to the spaces below and provide an understanding of the order of the living units. A number of similar ideas could developed to enrich the experience of the residents.
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