Green light for revamp of leading children's mental health charity

Planners give permission for part new-build, part-refurbishment project at the Anna Freud Centre in London

Planners have given the thumbs-up to the new project

Planners at The London Borough of Islington’s have given the green to plans for a part new-build, part-refurbishment project at The Anna Freud Centre, a leading children’s mental health charity.

The 3,300sq m scheme will deliver a new centre of excellence, bringing leaders in neuroscience, mental health, and education together 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.

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 five storeys at the front of the site.

Existing and new floorspace on the upper levels will be connected, and there will be an open-plan ground-floor layout and shared and communal facilities including a café, library, conference centre, and hot-desk workstations.

The building will have two types of façades to emphasise the building’s 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 lessons.

The Anna Freud Centre has been designed by Penoyre & Prasad Architects

Designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, 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,” said Peter Fonagy, chief executive.

“The centre of excellence is an integral part of this vision and is being constructed with the aim of it opening for the start of the new academic year in September 2018.”

The building has been designed by Penoyre & Prasad, with CES Engineering Sustainability providing M&S and sustainability advice. The structural engineer for the project is Webb Yates, with Gardiner & Theobald acting as cost consultant.

Acoustics design was carried out by Gillieron Scott, with MLM in charge of fire strategy and Transport Planning Associates as the transport consultant.

Project management was handled by Bilfinger GVA while the planning consultant was Turley Associates.

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