Mental Health Centre for Children
Thinking in a completely different way of well-known, basic topics and structures is always a big risk, but a great challenge as well. This kind of 'Rethinking' behavior led me to the decision of converting the isolated and rigid environment of an old factory into a mysterious mental health center for children. Examining the topic I found a strong duality in the needs of spaces: the intimacy, coziness and protection of a family house - as children's needs - are completed by the diversity and scale of the programme. The territory where family houses meet the diversity of functions led me to think of a village, which thought remained the basic principle of the planning. After analyzing some old villages I placed the function blocks around the chimney the same way as houses traditionally surround the church, creating a strong 'tower-chimney metaphor'. This kind of 'grown' architectural behavior allowed the dissolution of the corridor-based hospital schemes, creating hiding and protective places for the children. Giving a significance to the park around the chimney was an important part of the project, the various pavilions provide opportunity to integrate outdoor activities in the everyday-routine. This experiment tried to give a likeable environment to children with mental problems.
The location of the project is Érd, a city near to the capital. This city not only guards a lot of natural, but historical value as well. The chosen plot is situated next to the Danube river , irt is the territory of an old brick factory. The factory was built in 1910, but after its closing in 1980 the area became a ghost-town. The remained buildings are in very bad conditions, only ruined concrete elements remind us of the factory’s history, the most significant one is the huge chimney.
In Hungary there is a really worrying gap in the psychiatric care, and without the appropriate curing even the small problems can turn into irreversible and serious mental problems.
The concept comes from the dual space requirement of this topic. On the one hand children need the intimacy and cosiness of a protecting family house, on the other hand a mental health centre must include a big variety of functions. The place where family meet the diversity of functions led to the concept of creating a small village for the kids.
The main goal was to dissolve the well-known corridor-based hospital form, and create hiding places for children where they really feel safe. In the traditional villages in Hungary houses are situated around the church, which is the most important symbol of the area. From this came the main idea of the project: the church tower – chimney analogy - just as in the old villages houses organically surround the church will the function blocks of the health centre surround the chimney.