Nicole Williams

P1. Observatory

My allocated subject for the first project was Astronomy, with the objective being to design an observation facility located on Higger Tor. Jagged rocks conflict with the soft heather to the north of the site, creating a juxtaposition I wanted to integrate into my design. I also wanted to contribute to the rock climbing that was already popular at Higger Tor. My observatory aims to provide a natural stargazing experience, creating a feeling of connection to the landscape. Grey metal strips overhang the timber clad building, providing a climbing route to the heather and green roof, and in a sense to the stars.

P2. The Peekaboo Theatre

Theatre has the ability to inspire and enrich a community, and for P3 I wanted to instil this philosophy into the younger generation of Darnall. A cluster of schools and nurseries are located by my site, so I designed a children’s theatre which provoked a community aspect. It would achieve this through workshops and frequent performances, some involving the school children. The perforated brick façade blends in with the neighbouring buildings and has inspired the idea of ‘peekaboo’ windows and holes that are scattered throughout the building. These interactive viewpoints leave the theatre open to the public but in a more theatrical and playful way. 

P3. Heeley Housing

This project asked us to develop our own housing manifesto which was to inform our type of housing and the social groups it accommodated. My housing proposal addresses the issues of mental health in our society today. The housing will provide homes for those recently recovered from acute mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and OCD and will continue their recovery process through a therapy garden. My site is where a small medical centre is located; the garden will replace this as the medical facility.

With statistics showing that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, it is a problem that is more relevant than most people think. I strongly believe that it should be something that informs design decisions in both residential and public sectors in order to provide positive spaces for the mind. This housing scheme attempts to achieve this with not only the therapy garden, but internal courtyards which allow a constant physical or visual connection with nature.