The London Borough of Islington’s planning committee have determined to give planning permission for a new build and refurbishment project for The Anna Freud Centre, the leading children’s mental health charity.
The 3,300m2 scheme for the new centre of excellence will bring together the best people and organisations in neuroscience, mental health an education to work directly with children and their families. The vision for the centre is that it will be a knowledge hub and community, developing new treatments, interventions and approaches informed by the most recent scientific discoveries to deliver better mental health services on a local, national and international level. Located on a tight central London site near King’s Cross, the new building will extend the existing chocolate factory warehouse with a building rising up to three storeys at the back and to 5 storeys at the front of the site along the street.
Existing and new floorspace on the upper levels will be connected by a full site covering an open-plan ground floor and will include shared and communal facilities such as a café, a library, a conference centre and hot-desking workstations.
The building will have two types of façades to emphasise the buildings different surroundings. The fully glazed west façade will create a strong connection to the park across the street, providing classrooms with open views into the trees and the sky. Internal courtyards will benefit from the same façade system to maximise daylight and visual connections between different parts of the building, views onto terraces, and views to outdoor spaces. The north and south façades that are not covered by adjacent buildings will be clad in pre-cast concrete panels with a large-scale cast-in geometric pattern. Several roof terraces at different levels will provide recreational outdoor space for staff and visitors and outdoor learning space for school.
Designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent, sustainability measures include a heat recovery system, passive cooling with thermal mass, stack and natural ventilation, LED lighting and daylight sensors, on-site biodiversity comprising nectar-rich flowers and insect and bird nesting boxes, rainwater harvesting via a Sustainable Drainage System for toilet flushing and the building envelope will be designed to 0.15 u-value generally for walls and roofs, with a u-value of 1.2 for external glazing and a g-factor of 2 to minimise solar gain.
The Anna Freud Centre believes a step change is needed to transform the provision of children’s mental health care in England. The Centre is campaigning for greater integration of mental health support and services into our education, health and social care systems, built around the needs of children young people and their families and not around institutions, plus increased scientific innovation, research and collaboration as part of a holistic approach to transforming policy and practice. The centre of excellence is an integral part of this vision, and is being constructed with the aim of it opening its doors for the start of the new academic year in September 2018. The Family School, situated at the heart of the centre of excellence, will be the first setting of its kind where not only is mental health completely integrated into children’s education but the entire family is supported. This helps the child gain the full benefit from their learning opportunities, with the aim of re-integrating into mainstream education. It will be a place where they can feel in charge of their own lives and have a voice in the support they receive. Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, said: “We have expanded massively in the recent years and we are now split across a number of sites. We want to demonstrate how integration brings direct benefits in terms greater treatment effectiveness, better opportunities for acquiring new knowledge and discovery and fantastic opportunities for training.
We have been brilliantly supported by the North London community which we have served over the last 60 years. We have determinedly pushed forward our knowledge and understanding of child development and mental disorder. Integrating our research work with unique clinical service, including a family school for children excluded from mainstream education, linked to UCL (and Yale) universities is an exceptional opportunity to immediately test the practical implications of new discoveries and immediately disseminate findings through teaching and training.”
The Penoyre & Prasad led design team was selected by the Charity in March 2015 in competition with Fielden Clegg Bradley, Nicholas Hare and Cottrell & Vermuellen.