Lewisham, London

Kaleidoscope – Lewisham Centre for Children and Young People

Design process

The trust found a design team which was both receptive to their ideas and capable of producing a design which fulfilled their objectives.  The team was selected by a design competition, organised in accordance with EU procurement legislation with the advice and support of CABE enabling.

Consulting multiple stakeholders

Lewisham Primary Care Trust worked hard to establish precise requirements for the centre through consultation with organisations moving into the new centre as well as a group of parents.  These consultations continued throughout the design development, construction, fit-out and occupancy of the building.

Inviting design proposals

Although the client was enlightened and with a strong vision they didn’t have the skills to put into words the experiential environment they envisaged.  CABE, through its organisation of the competition and the provision of the CABE enabler, was well equipped to help develop the brief.  The CABE enabler gave the client the vocabulary to talk about design to the architects.

From the initial 40 responses, ten teams were invited to attend an interview and four were then asked to develop designs (approximately to RIBA Stage C).  A consultation day was organised early in the eight-week design period, when the teams visited the site and discussed the brief with representatives of the organisations which were to move into the building.

Selecting the design team

The assessment stage included presentations to groups of parents and staff as well as formal assessments by a jury and a technical panel, each using the ‘NHS Achieving Excellent Design Evaluation Toolkit’ (AEDET) as part of the scoring system.  The involvement in decision making which the competition process offered contributed to everybody’s understanding of what was needed and to their appreciation of and commitment to the winning design

A CABE enabler liaised with the local planning department, presenting the architects and client’s proposal to them and worked with the architects to develop the proposals further.

The client had also appointed a client design advisor who was a retired ex-architect whose role on the client’s team was to last throughout the project duration, and with whom the enabler developed a particularly productive relationship.

Finalising the design

The finished building follows the competition design very closely.  The only significant change was to increase security by enclosing the garden rather than using it as the route into the main reception area.  Doors still open onto the garden giving the public access to the space once they are within the building. 

The post-competition design period concentrated on the internal layout of the administration levels and on maximising the environmental and energy saving measures.  Detailed analyses, undertaken at this stage, resulted in the fifth storey being brought into use.  Initially this was to be provided in shell form only.

‘We took a complex brief and tried to create the simplest building possible – we wanted to provide a range of spaces that were joyful and pleasurable and to try to get away from the sterile environment one would normally get in a building of this kind.  Focusing the building around the garden gave it both light and life’.
James Gallie, Van Heyningen and Haward