Conrad Koslowsky Architects invokes a sense of tranquillity, with pockets of space designed to attract and calm, in a project of evident research and stakeholder engagment
RIBA South West London Regional Award winner
Lighthouse Children's Home, Sutton
Conrad Koslowsky Architects for Lighthouse Pedagogy Trust
Contract value: £1m
Cost per m2: £1,869
At first glance, Lighthouse Children’s Home appears to be a visually unassuming project which sits perfectly in its context in suburban south west London. However, on entering the building, visitors are welcomed by a high-quality interior and a layout that invites curiosity about the surrounding spaces. Built in the Arts & Crafts style and latterly derelict, the former care home now has six generous bedrooms (for children age 12–17) each with an en-suite bathroom, plus a dedicated sleeping-in room for overnight staff and a flexible apartment on the third floor for two care leavers (age 16+). Two large living rooms provide entertainment and educational rooms. The double kitchen has plenty of space for several young cooks, and a custom-designed dining table forms the heart of the home.
The interior has a real sense of tranquillity, with pockets of space designed to attract and calm. With a strict brief for the building to feel like home, evident care has been taken in both the design and the co-ordination with other consultants to ensure that otherwise institutional features such as fire equipment and signage are cleverly integrated. The client and architect have worked hard to develop a selection of different types of spaces that can respond to different emotions experienced by the residents. Decorated in a rich, tactile, natural material palette, they invoke a sense of cosiness and security. An immense amount of research and stakeholder engagement has evidently taken place to deliver a successful project.
What becomes apparent as you walk through the building is the attention to detail that has been given to otherwise simple elements that provide a positive impact and micro-environment for residents. Judges commented that in touring the building they repeatedly heard stories about how it has helped enable positive outcomes in its residents’ lives, and it is clear there is a close bond between architect and client created through realising this challenging brief.
Children’s care homes have historically had challenging budgets to work with, and the Lighthouse Children’s Home is a template for how the typology should be approached from a holistic design perspective. This project took very much an inside-out design approach and is a credit to the architect and client for making it a success for the community.
Client Lighthouse Pedagogy Trust
Contractor Romark Projects Management Ltd
Structural engineer PHI Design
Environmental / M&E engineer Atamate
Quantity surveyor / cost consultant Stockdale UK