Caudwell International Children's Centre
Stonepanel Stone Cladding
The Caudwell International Children’s Centre (CICC) in Keele is the UK’s first independent, purpose-built facility dedicated to autism diagnosis, therapy and research.
Built using Taylor Maxwell’s STONEPANEL™ product, among other key materials, the 60,000 square-foot building opened its doors in November 2018, offering an unprecedented breadth of services and support to children with autism and their families.
The CICC was meticulously designed by host charity, Caudwell Children, and architects C4 Projects, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders. The aim was to provide a supportive environment for disabled people, with a core focus on the needs of children with autism and neurodevelopment conditions.
Internally, the building had to reflect the way children with autism like to navigate and move, and to provide a calming sensory experience. The exterior needed to be warm and welcoming, with natural-looking building materials that would provide the right level of acoustics and light. Above all, the charity was determined that the centre should not resemble an institution in any way.
C4 Projects responded with a graceful, curvilinear design that is both highly aesthetic and functional. Inside, 360-degree loop corridors discourage children from running and, by doing away with harsh, right-angled corners, reduce the anxiety of surprise encounters. Internal decoration also avoids complex patterns and detailing, while sensory gardens enable the children to interact with nature.
Externally, C4 Projects opted for natural stone, timber and glass, and selected our STONEPANEL™ (Nordic without White Stones), hook and adhesive fixed stone cladding for the building’s three-foot pier façades. This composite, high-quality product has a rustic, hand-built look and feel, complementing the centre’s timber features to provide the desired warmth and geniality. Its bulk also has the additional benefit of blocking sound – perfect for CICC’s acoustic specifications.
Our STONEPANEL™ product not only helped C4 Projects to meet the client’s aesthetic and functional brief, it also provided a range of efficiency savings. Whereas traditional stone products would have required a great deal of onsite cutting, STONEPANEL™ could be pre-cut and the stone piers pre-fabricated offsite. This meant all cutting and sizing could be carried out in a controlled environment, minimising risk and saving time at the point of installation.
STONEPANEL™ is also well suited to CICC’s challenging design, aligning smoothly to the building’s curves and junctions. In addition, its acoustic qualities would reduce the amount of sound coming into the centre, promoting calm and minimising disturbance for the children inside. Overall, the choice of materials helped to create an innovative and beautiful building – one that is perfectly attuned to the client’s vision and the needs of its end-users.
Taylor Maxwell's product provided the great combination of a high-performance product, aesthetics and efficiency. The ability to pre-cut the stone panelling off site saved the team numerous weeks on site which had cost benefits for the Charity as well as reducing on site risks.
It's also a highly innovative product, ideal for complex buildings like the CICC. Taylor Maxwell is clearly developing innovative product specs that its competitors struggle to match. There's a lot of stone on the market, but to have something that looks so natural is amazing.
In terms of service, Taylor Maxwell also really delivered. Its reps brought in a range of samples and helped us to identify the right material for our task. They were responsive to our questions and requests, and very quick to rectify a minor sizing issue in the early stages. Overall, we were delighted with the product and the people behind it, both of which were integral to the success of the project.”
Director and Architect - C4 Projects