News / 3DReid submits community health and wellbeing centre for planning

Thistle Garden Rooms, Edinburgh April 3 2019

3DReid submits community health and wellbeing centre for planning

3DReid has submitted a detailed planning application for Thistle Garden Rooms; a new-build community-centred building in the heart of Craigmillar, Edinburgh, on behalf of Thistle, the leading Edinburgh based health and wellbeing charity.

The new building will replace the existing single-storey 350m2 Garden Suite which was built in the 1950s and which currently provides a venue for a number of courses and classes including Tai Chi and indoor curling for people living with disabilities and long-term health conditions such as MS, hypertension, diabetes and depression. This building is no longer fit for purpose as it has deteriorating building fabric, is expensive to maintain and no longer provides sufficient space to meet the ever-increasing demand for support from Thistle.

The new ‘Garden Rooms’ will be built on the footprint of the existing Garden Suite, located adjacent to Thistle’s award-winning Centre of Wellbeing which is a previous collaboration between Thistle and 3DReid and which opened in 2016. Approximately 2,500 people per month come to the Centre for support and to use its key facilities such as its specially equipped and subsidised gym and its central communal hub space.

A wide range of stakeholders have been consulted about the design and use of the new Garden Rooms building. Over a twelve-month period, 3DReid and Thistle have consulted with people who currently use the building – Tai Chi class participants, a Syrian women’s group and crèche organisers, a Men’s Sheds Association group, Hobby Hut women’s craft-based group and an organisation who provide moving and handling training for care and support workers. The local community and employees were also consulted as part of the process.

Reflecting feedback from stakeholders, the proposed new building has a diverse mix of informal, flexible accommodation that includes:

• a 140m2 activity space with community garden-facing windows,
• a communal kitchen,
• a craft and wood workshop with plenty of natural light,
• a yoga and tai chi studio and
• a meditation/mindfulness space located in a quieter area of the building.

The Garden Rooms building is designed to be a flexible, economic to run and sustainable facility for the future benefit of both those who are supported by Thistle and the wider local community. To accommodate the predicted increase in demand for support, the new building is a two-storey structure while the existing facility is a single storey. Every care has been taken to ensure the additional height has minimal impact on neighbours and enhanced landscaping will also provide an additional amenity to people living locally.

The proposed new building is located within the original perimeter of the Thistle estate – a development of B-listed houses with associated covered walkways and the A-listed Robin Chapel which were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A considered and sensitive approach has been taken to the external design of the Garden Rooms so that it is welcoming and reflects key architectural features from within the Conservation Area such as the archways and tower of the Chapel and the gables and chimney stacks of the residential properties. The new building has a distinct character and civic quality to reflect its function, purpose and place in the tradition of a pioneering approach to architecture as part of an holistic approach to improved wellbeing.

Part of the development proposals is the re-design and enhanced landscaping of the existing community garden associated with the current Garden Suite building. Landscape architects, Urban Pioneers, have drawn-up designs that promote greater flexibility, accessibility and use of the surrounding space, with stronger connectivity to the new building.

Chris Dobson, Associate Director, 3DReid:
We are delighted to be able to continue our work with Thistle and look forward to the next chapter in their story, with the proposed redevelopment of the existing Garden Suite building.
A comprehensive community consultation exercise has been the key driver underpinning the requirements of the new building, from which a fantastically diverse brief has emerged.

The plan and sectional forms work hand in hand, creating individual spaces of distinct feel. Continual engagement with the outdoor environment being a key experience of the journey through the building, from the direct engagement between activity space and community garden, to the studio north-light of the workshop, the abstracted tree canopy of the yoga/tai chi room and the framed view of Arthur’s Seat from the meditation space.

Working within the designated Conservation Area, we have sought to develop a proposal that celebrates the varied architectural styles of its surroundings, presenting a characterful addition to the community infrastructure of the wider Craigmillar area.”

Visuals: © 3DReid 2019

Thistle Garden Rooms, Edinburgh

Thistle Garden Rooms, Edinburgh

Thistle Garden Rooms, Edinburgh

Thistle Garden Rooms, Edinburgh

Thistle Garden Rooms, Edinburgh

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