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 2015 we completed one of our first projects as chambersmcmillan: a conversion of the ground floor of a Georgian house in Portobello, to make an accessible lifetime home for a couple after their children had left home. The house already had a wonderful space which had been a working man’s snooker hall and an artist studio, so we worked to retain the character of this space whilst providing a new bedroom, wetroom, and living spaces which connect to the kitchen, dining and garden.
If you are living in a space which doesn’t work for your needs or current uses, please get in touch to discuss how our design could change this.
This family home was designed with a couple and their two children, who were returning to Germany after twenty years in Edinburgh. They really wanted to take an atmosphere of Scotland with them, and modern takes on castles, maps, closes and Scottish materiality were discussed during the design process. Because it is a lifetime family home, time was spent developing the brief to create spaces that will work, flexibly, into the future of the family. Being a flat plot in the centre of the block, it was important that the design process created captured outside spaces, which connect well to the inside.
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.
A classic Leith double upper, which was working less well for the growing family, we gained large amounts of space by removing a lot of circulation, and connecting spaces in better ways. The house provides spaces for each individual member, including two teenagers, and their different activities, as well as communal social space to be a family.
“In chatting to Ian and Thea it soon became apparent that they had ideas about how to use space which would never occur to us. We know their own house, the Ramp House, and love the design, the quirkiness and use of materials so we knew we were in safe hands. Also, we knew if we just sat and talked about doing it it would never get done – so having Ian and Thea working on it has meant it did actually happen.”
We were delighted to be granted planning this week for a bungalow in East Edinburgh – the design will enable the traditional bungalow to be re-invented, so that it will become a modern home that is a joy to live in.
An outdoor – indoor inclusive adventure play centre for disabled children and young people, their friends, and their families, The Yard Dundee will be designed as an enabling environment for all who use it. We are at concept design stage, a joint venture with JM Architects, Glasgow.
The Yard is an award-winning charity running adventure play services for disabled children, young people and their families. They promote inclusive play to help disabled children and young people develop their full potential, confidence, self- esteem and life skills.
The project is an inclusive outdoor indoor adventure play centre in Dundee, providing disabled children and young people, their siblings and friends the chance to experience creative and adventurous play in a well supported environment. As designers, we knew that the children and young people’s involvement right from the start of the process would be crucial. We are currently at concept stage, having conducted a series of creative workshops that allow the children and young people both to communicate their needs for the spaces, and also to imagine how they want the spaces to be, feel, work, be experienced in a sensory way. As designers this process has enabled us to design a place that works for all the different needs of the children and young people, and also promotes ownership and belonging once they inhabit and use the building.
The Aim of the Building:
The benefits of creative adventure play for children are well documented. 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. This building will support this process, and has been designed as an enabling environment, where each child or young person finds the spaces they need. The building will contain spatial contrasts which will be especially important to children as part of their learning through exploration and free-play. How they experience these spaces will be what makes this an exceptional building. Spatial articulation and interconnectivity between spaces, where large open plan spaces encourage and enable play, but are also articulated to encourage slower experiences used by different people in different ways. Physical, aural, and visual connections provide a sense of security and independence which is important to the families who attend The Yard. Outside play is a crucial principle: designing so that the spaces outside and inside, through their pathways and connections, work as one. It will be a building which enables all the fundamentals of play. Maximising the imagination of children’s play, we are designing a fully inclusive building that enables this for all
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
In order to make a lovely cottage in Portobello work well for the family with two teenagers, we extended from the kitchen into a new garden room, that connects to the outside. The brief was to maximise the feeling of space, with a high sculpted ceiling and clerestory light, whilst not occupying too much of the existing garden. The Lane elevation was important, as part of the conservation area, to work with existing urban knit, whilst demonstrating a new space.
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.
Our RIAS shortlisted urban bothy. A conversion of a garage into a family room at the end of the garden: provides space for sewing, family projects, drumming, sleep overs, and a workshop. The garden elevation connects to the garden, and visually to the house, with a long window bench, between inside and outside.