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Greenbanks Arts and Media Buildings
A residential care home in Kent has asked us to create new arts, crafts, media and horticulture teaching facilities for people with long-term learning disabilities.
The site is on the outskirts of Barham, a small village near Canterbury and sits across the boundary of a conservation area and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The key aims of the proposal are creating a cluster of buildings that provide for the complex needs of the Greenbanks staff and students, while also respecting the village grain, history, and natural beauty of this precious landscape. The design also needs to be phased due to incremental funding, and must be built causing minimum disruption.
The project has looked to learn from open air schools, a movement in education architecture that prioritised connection to the landscape as conducive to learning and health. We have therefore proposed four buildings that sit like a cluster of farm buildings or a hamlet.
A key challenge has been nestling the buildings into this sloping site in a way that makes the landscape accessible to those with mobility challenges, without overly urbanising the quality of the green space. Throughout the design process we have sought to create opportunities for the students to be involved. We have held creative workshops with Greenbanks students and are looking at ways in which they can make their mark on the final buildings through woodwork, painting, and planting.
Greenbanks Frame Workshop
The project began with a workshop at Greenbanks intended to allow Studio Weave to meet and get to know the residents and help them to critique their built environment at Greenbanks.
The workshop aim was to understand what does and doesn’t currently work for its residents and staff across the entire site, identifying the characteristics and idiosyncrasies that are important to its sense of place and in turn make Greenbanks special.
Weavers, staff and residents split into groups and explored the site recording their journey through photographs, documenting various aspects of the site with either… a green frame (representing a positive attribute), or a red frame (representing a negative attribute).
These framed spaces across the site were then collected together and displayed for discussion, prompting opinions about what is and isn’t successful about the current set up.
We then took an imaginary journey through the year exploring Greenbanks through the seasons, from primroses and fresh vegetables to orange leaves and snow. While travelling through the seasons we captured memories of specific occasions or activities at Greenbanks, reminiscing and building up a picture of Greenbanks past and the residents’ collective memory of its spaces.
To finish the group opened up the imaginary world of its future and fantasy spaces that would inspire them while doing their favorite activities at Greenbanks. By the end Studio Weave felt truly welcomed into the Greenbanks family.
Location: Barham, Kent, UK
Project Status: Ongoing