The design meets the original objectives
The centre scores highly when rated against the Design Quality Indicators for impact, build quality and functionality. It was completed on time (a short extension of the programme being agreed well in advance) and on budget with the running costs also on target for the first year of operation.
Most important of all, it meets the objectives set by the client body:
- different professional groups are starting to integrate
- new conversations are taking place
- experience and expertise are being shared.
Support and service jobs, previously difficult to fill, are now attracting good applicants and there are examples of young people attending appointments when they would not previously have bothered. The concept of providing a unified service with one central reception point removes any sense of stigma people might feel and this is reinforced by the evident mix of people going in and out of the building, and by the sign along the front of the building which simply reads ‘Kaleidoscope’. (The name was selected by public competition).
The reception area holds the building together
One aspect of the design which contributes to the centre’s success is the relaxed and friendly reception area. As well as seating looking over the garden it has a safe play space for young children, a separate sitting room for teenagers, a small cafeteria and a resource area. Roof lights in the single-storey section increase the feeling of airiness and the sense of contact with the outside.
Open plan offices encourage collaboration
The open plan offices are designed to provide spaces for staff from the different organisations to relax and interact. These spaces include light corner areas with surprising views over nearby gardens, a library,, kitchens and cubicles for quiet research or private conversations. All these facilities are shared and serve to bring the different disciplines together.
An interdepartmental management committee meets regularly to discuss problems and makke decisions, including two minor changes since the building was handed over. Screening has been improved to cope with the low sunlight during the spring and autumn and manual controls have been added in the offices to override the movement-based system. Natural daylight has been found to be adequate for much of the time.
A resounding success
Light, air, greenery, space and colour all make their contribution, reflecting a concern for the well-being of everybody who needs to spend time within the centre. This is a very humane building. At the same time, it houses an efficient and effective service and accommodates a range of high quality facilities within a relatively tight envelope.
‘We are delighted with Kaleidoscope. This is a wonderful resource for children who have a range of needs and disabilities. It provides an environment which guarantees Lewisham children and their families the respect due to them. The design of the building has greatly facilitated the move towards integrated service delivery, including shared assessment and training. Parents and children are highly complimentary ‘
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Consultant Paediatrician at Lewisham PCT
‘I call it a sanctuary – a place which exudes respect for children, young people and families who come here and those who work here’
Lynne Harris, Team Manager – Children with Disabilities Service, LBL