The Lighthouse Childrens Centre , Southend, Essex.

Completion date: November 2006
Contract value: £1.4m
Gross internal floor area: 1,019 sq.m.
Client: Southend Hospital NHS Trust

This project was instigated by the children's consultant from Southend Hospital and based adjacent to the site of an existing special needs school. The location of the building and design was a conscious decision to provide real child friendly facilities away from the hospital site.

The design brief set out the philosophy that the building design, colours and spaces should all empathise with the child's perspective and provide a child friendly environment.

The planning form and materials have been chosen to emphasise this for example the main entrance foyer is a large circular drum lit from above with undersea motifs let into the floor finishes, a small courtyard garden creates a tranquil space for parents whilst the adjacent play space has been designed in the form of a boat.

The circulation spaces are designed to create a sense of adventure through 'visual cues' in a child's mind as they progress through the building. Glimpses of the courtyard and the boat are evident from many