Arc Centre, Ty R Ardd
A Mental Health support community hub to raise the profile of mental healthcare in South Wales
The 950sqm building forms the hub of a Mental Health support community. The design response took inspiration from the words ‘access to multiple facilities under one roof’. The brief from our clients was for a single storey building that had flexible spaces. The site also had to deliver the Local Authorities aspiration of a ‘gateway building to the town centre’. As a result of these drivers, a building that raises the profile of mental healthcare in Bridgend and South Wales has been realised. The large inclined copper roof gives the building a height and presence that gives protection and shelter. The curved plan form responds to the site geometry, pushing its public face to the site perimeter.
Despite mental healthcare issues touching many families there is still a resistance to these facilities within local communities. We worked with the adjacent residents to produce a facility that was sympathetic to the adjacent housing, despite presenting a bold façade to all of those that pass it. Adjacent neighbours praised the design for respecting their privacy and responding to their domestic scale properties. This was facilitated by the sloping roof with large overhangs creating a building that is 3.5 metres high at the rear but over 9 metres high to the road.
The design of the Ty R Ardd building takes an innovative approach to designing spaces that are useful. Corridors are all but abolished, and as a result of this all of the circulation area is corralled into one big useable space. This central space has all facilities accessed off of it and is easily observed from one point. This flexible space is the hub of the building and creates a social space, that is highly distinctive, and reinforces the character of the building in a more subtle way than that of its bold exterior. The light and airy space supports the progressive nature of the mental health service that is without barriers and open to all. Spaces such as this are often difficult to justify on cost grounds in such a small building, but being able to use the cost allowance for ‘corridors and circulation’ in an innovative way has brought benefit to all.