these options for a small accessible home on a narrow urban site can be developed for different briefs and sites. the core of the concept is how to live inclusively and accessibly in a small footprint, with enjoyable spaces that connect well, producing a home which has both variety and is a supportive environment
This project was to convert a church hall, which had been a much loved nursery, into a compact accessible living space. Using the front of the hall and carving out a courtyard to allow light into the depth of the spaces, arranged around the courtyard, giving each of them a connection to outside private space, as well as longer views out of the front. Each space has its own character, further enhanced by the colour and choice of materials and objects considerately placed by the client. Spatial and visual connections between each room were of great importance, to make a small place feel spacious.
As an existing church hall, the building already had a presence on the wide street, with its variety of scales of townhouses. With the ramp crossing the whole width of the building, a layering was set up, which we continued with layers of timber on the rendered front wall. The timber connects to the burnt larch timber cladding in the inner courtyard.
The client for the project was very hands on. From the design process through the whole build process, where she managed all the trades, and was involved in parts of the construction, including scorching all the burnt larch for the cladding herself (and really beautifully!)
The project is sustainable, in the decision to re-use an existing building which was no longer suitable for its purpose, in its choice of building materials, and just as importantly, in its inclusive, accessible nature.With a ramped entrance to get to a level ground floor with a main bedroom, wet room, and living and kitchen space, as well as a small snug / second bedroom. The roof space has been converted into a third bedroom and wet room. The accessible concept makes it a lifetime home for anyone.
In a week’s time we will be celebrating the very best in Scottish Design (from Digital Design to Corporate Design, Craft to Architecture), at the Scottish Design Awards 2019. We are delighted that our future project, with JM Architects, for the Yard Dundee, has been shortlisted. The Yard are an amazing client, who provide a brilliant environment for children with disabilities offering the chance for creative adventurous indoor and outdoor play in a well-supported environment. The Yard strongly believes disabled children should be offered the same opportunities as their peers to get involved in risky play to help them develop, learn and build friendships and find their own limits. The future building in Dundee will support this process, and has been designed as an enabling environment, where each child or young person finds the spaces they need.
We are delighted that our concept design for The Yard Dundee has been shortlisted for future building, in the Scottish Design awards 2019. It is an exciting project for us, with fabulous clients, and lots of creative engagement and workshops with users, feeding into the design process.
Re-thinking a two storey house, that was no longer working for the family, we developed the design in collaboration with the clients to create an open plan but articulated living garden room, with kitchen, sitting, dining, activity wall, window seat to the herb courtyard, and much better connection to the existing garden. This frees up the existing sitting room, either for teenagers to use, or in the future could be an accessible ground floor bedroom, making this a lifetime home. Like many houses the connections between inside and outside, and the connections between spaces for different uses needed to be re-designed, to create a flexible inclusive accessible family home
This project is to extend and convert an existing lodge, so that the Glasgow Disabled Scouts can use it more inclusively and accessibly. the idea is that outside and inside spaces will work well together, enabling more of the Scouts outdoor activities and adventures to happen. The design process has been inclusive, with co-design creative workshops informing the building.
This new build house, was designed to support two families, including one wheelchair user. It was important for the two families to feel well connected, whilst also having their own private space. We worked closely with the planning department to ensure that the understanding of the extra needs of the families were supported allowing a design that both works with the surrounding landscape whilst also providing a suitable lifetime home
Chambers McMillan will be attending the Private View for the Architecture open at the RSA this Friday. Our film (filmed by Bee and Greta) of the Route Through the Ramp House Features in the exhibition.
The principle of the ramp house was to design and build a family home for a little girl who is a wheelchair user, where the whole house enables her to lead a barrier free included life. We are often confronted with the physical barriers that the built environment presents; in our own home we were able to design a fully inclusive place; using a ramp to access all levels, provides an equality of space to us all. We have designed spaces along the ramp, connecting both horizontally and vertically, so that the experience of the house changes as it unfolds.
The difference that the ramp makes is in how the spaces are experienced; this is both linear and sectional, and the opportunities to look back or forward into other spaces. The ramp contributes both width and height to each of the different pausing places along the way. As we inhabit the house, we can see how this provides variation, complexity, and flexibility in the everyday use of the house, how many spaces can be used concurrently and how it reaches its potential when it is inhabited: movement around it, by foot or on wheels brings the experience to life.
For us as a family, the design of this house has made a difference to our everyday life: for a child who cannot move around independently, the connectivity of the spaces becomes all the more important. If Greta is in the living room, there are six different spaces that we can be in and move between, and she is still able to see and hear us, and communicate with us. Because of the articulation of the different spaces within the open plan, there are many opportunities for privacy and seclusion whilst still being part of the life of the house.
It was important that our home should be a place belonging to the children as well as to us; to ensure this we included them in the design process; to enable this process we worked mainly with models helping the children to understand how spaces might feel and how they might connect.
It has been crucial to us that we remain in the centre of our community where Greta was born; building this house here has enabled her to remain a loved part of Portobello. Our accessible family home allows her friends to come and play in a built environment designed to enable her to play just like any other eight year old. The wider impact of an inclusive house like this, is that people who come to visit us experience a different way of moving around a house, and understand that accessibility does not need to be about constrictions, but can be a delight.