| Author: Quadri Shogunle-Aregbesola
| Tutor: John Comparelli
| The University of the West of England, Bristol
| Project Report:
The UK is in a mental health crisis, with a particular focus on children and young people. An alternative form of mental health therapy is being explored, the use of nature. The relationship between man and nature could be used to provide a framework for the understanding of its inhabitants and the natural world. This culminates in the beneficial impact upon man’s mental health and well-being.
Nature’s Safe Haven mental health facility will become the catalyst for man’s first steps towards using natural phenomena within an institutional setting, as an alternative form of treatment for those suffering from mental health issues.
Based on Alvar Aalto`s approach to architectural theory, I decided early on to go with a more holistic, humanistic approach that served as the foundation to develop the design phase of the mental health facility. Materiality was used, in order to impact the patients’ emotional needs.
The form of Nature`s Safe Haven bases this theory on the situation of the building on site. The contours of the site serve as the perfect location for the building, surrounded by calcareous grassland and permeable chalk, suitable for aquifers. The form wraps around the contours, becoming one with the site.
The spatial language of Nature`s Safe Haven has been developed with the influence of Tadao Ando. The mental health facility has enabled people to experience journeys involving gestation and awareness. It also encourages the user to contemplate the ways in which the arrangement of sequences through the spaces produce metaphysical, philosophical thinking.
Private pavilions sit at the back of the site, protected by the trees and the building itself. They are only accessible by the patients of the rehabilitation facility. The existing views of the space, force the user to think about how they could conserve the nature of the site, whilst fully immersing themselves in the natural space.
The structural form began to take a more formal appearance, culminating in the use of pre-cast concrete in situ for the ground floor. The first floor will be proposed of Cross Laminated Timber Panel cellular blocks. The building emerges out of the chalk, limestone foundation as if it is one continuous element.
Concrete is used for the lower floors due to its affinity with nature and the surrounding landscape. Timber is used for the higher floors, also due to its affinity with nature but also the human being.