RCKa secures planning for new campus addition for leading neuro-disability charity, The Children’s Trust

New school for the Children's Trust

RCKa has received planning permission to create a new centre of excellence for leading charity, The Children’s Trust, which will integrate education, health, therapy and care facilities for children and young people with brain injury and neuro-disability. With headquarters based in Tadworth, Surrey, The Children’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury, supporting children and young people from all over the country. The charity takes a holistic approach to neuro-disability education and the new building will support their mission, with a mix of bespoke facilities for specific services and flexible spaces to enhance learning and wellbeing for the young people at the heart of the charity’s purpose.

Located in the grounds of a listed building, the proposal will connect into the campus of existing residential and clinical facilities that currently support the charity’s purpose.

Designs for The Children’s Trust are the result of extensive consultation between the design team and different stakeholder groups, and users across all stages of the process. This has resulted in a building of four distinct blocks connected by an active shared space and central courtyard garden at its heart. Each block has its own clear identity to help children orient themselves onsite, as their sensory experiences can differ greatly. 

RCKa worked closely with Farrer Huxley Landscape Architects who developed the richly textured designs for the landscape that will surround the building and foster a strong connection to nature. The boundary between internal and external spaces will be fluid, with landscape elements pushing into the heart of the building, and functional rooms spilling-out. All classrooms for example have external teaching terraces and key spaces such as the central hall and dining room can spill-out into an orchard landscape in warmer weather.

The transdisciplinary hub features a curved roof which rises to a point to highlight the entrance into the shared space whilst also hiding rooftop plant areas. The classroom blocks have a sawtooth roof profile, shaped to support the environmental strategy, and create an easily recognizable silhouette that is of a more human scale.

Across the building simple materials are used in playful ways. Colour, pattern, and texture are used in different scales across the building, creating a variety of sensory experiences and playful details that children and young people can directly engage with. The materials have been selected based upon research undertaken with the children and young people on site at The Children’s Trust.

RCKa director Dieter Kleiner said:

“The team at The Children’s Trust have been amazing; they put their faith in our ability to extract a brief from complex stakeholder engagement, and to design them a new transdisciplinary building from first principles to meet the specific needs of the charity and children in their care. We look forward to turning our shared vision into a reality.” 

Dalton Leong, Chief Executive at The Children’s Trust commented:  

“We are excited to work with RCKa on the development of a new state of the art centre to help us integrate and deliver education, health, therapy and care to the children and young people we support. We have been hugely impressed by RCKa’s collaborative approach and designs and receiving planning permission this week means we can take the first steps to bringing our vision to life.”