Caudwell International Children's Centre

Project

Caudwell International Children's Centre

Architects

C4 Consulting

Year complete

2018

Introduction

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.

Caudwell Side Image

Challenge

The CICC was meticulously designed by host charity, Caudwell Children, and architects C4 Consulting, 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.

Caudwell Main

Response

C4 Consulting 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 Consulting 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.

Gallery

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Outcome

Our STONEPANELproduct not only helped C4 Consulting 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, STONEPANELcould 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.

STONEPANELis 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.

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