Creating a new community hub with homes, care and social facilities for the local Jewish population.
Jewish Care is the largest health and social care charity serving the Jewish community in London and the south east, caring for over 7,000 people every week. One of their day centres, an old Victorian school in Golders Green, was particularly well loved, but Jewish Care saw an opportunity to improve its services and facilities.
Following a design competition, we were appointed to realise their vision for a new campus. As well as reproviding the day centre, we needed to accommodate a new residential care home for dementia sufferers, extra care homes for Holocaust survivors and HQ offices for the charity. Our task was to combine these different uses into one cohesive building that would become a focal point for older Jewish people in the area.
To meet the distinct needs of the building’s different users, we consulted extensively with Jewish Care, its volunteers and day centre visitors and established user groups for each of the new elements. For example, we worked closely with Holocaust survivors, their friends, family and carers to create spaces that made them feel safe and secure. Our landscape team also worked with dementia care staff and commissioners to create reassuring but stimulating environments.
The challenging aspect of this project was organising the four distinct uses whilst ensuring appropriate levels of access, privacy and security. For instance, the day centre needed to be open and welcoming, whereas the homes much more private. How these spaces interact, and how the external spaces mediate and connect them, is essential to the campus’ success. As such, we conceived a perimeter building around a calm central courtyard, which works to unify the different elements and provide a focal point for socialising or relaxation.
The new and improved day centre has become a lively hub: as well as shops, a café and hairdresser, there is space for group classes and visiting shows. Its flexible configuration also means it can be transformed into a synagogue on Saturdays. With offices situated above the day centre, an active frontage has been created on Golders Green Road, enhancing security and creating a landmark for the local area.
The residential care home and extra care homes wrap around the quieter side streets with their own separate entrances. We were keen to break down the convention of having long corridors and instead introduced apartments clustered around lounge and kitchen areas – facilitating a sense of community amongst residents whilst also improving the amount of natural light coming in.