Centre for Autism, School & Community Buildings Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham
HPA were appointed early in 2010 to design a new Autism Centre in the North of England. The North East Autism Society currently operates autism services from various properties and having been offered the opportunity to purchase an existing building, have decided to combine all of their education and community services onto a single site. HPA are partnering with NEAS to bring about a step-change in the manner in which autism care and education is delivered.
The project comprises the construction of a new 1800m2 Autism School. The design makes recognition of the specific requirements of the children with wide corridors with safe zones to each side, open plan dining area, small class base sizes with 1 to 1 rooms for each as well as supporting admin spaces.
In addition, the existing buildings on the site comprising admin, gym and swimming pool are being refurbished and extended as required to provide both community services functions as well as small residential units for short breaks for families of autistic children. A future phase will provide separate residential units for children and families requiring less support, who can make use of the various facilities. The buildings are set within a 7 acre site which allows the client to hold sports and community events and hence provide a great benefit to the wider community.
Completed in Decemeber 2012 by D&B Contractor Heron Bros, the building was short listed in June 2013 for the Best Education building in the LABC Building Excellence