Designing spaces for a client – Saturday session

In March, we delivered another PLACED Academy Saturday session with Gold Sponsor Pegasus Group and with long-term sponsors MGMA Architects.

The session focused on a project for client Young Person’s Advisory Service (YPAS), a Merseyside based charity that provides mental health and emotional wellbeing services to children, young people, and families. YPAS are upgrading their Liverpool central hub, led by the partnership between Pegasus and MGMA Architects, which will see a major redesign of their site, located on the corner of Copperas Hill and Bolton Street in Liverpool. 28 people from our cohort came to the session and explored how the building could be improved, with particular focus on how the reception area and therapy spaces could better facilitate therapy sessions.

The session began with meeting the design team to hear about the project brief, they also met the client and were able to hear about the overall aspirations for the site. The cohort heard why it was important to get a young person’s perspective on a project such as this one and learnt about what YPAS do.

We then conducted a site visit to the YPAS centre and studied what it’s like now. We thought about what worked, what didn’t, how the spaces are used and explored the building inside and out. We then asked the cohort to produce some “hairy drawings”, a term and skill the cohort have already explored before, to start off. A hairy drawing is a sketch or drawing that we use to initialise our ideas before developing them.

We then explained the brief and split into groups to really begin thinking about our designs. There are 4 spaces to design, so each group needed to think about their allocated space. We had rooms for peer-to-peer therapy, 1-on-1 therapy, group therapy and reception. We asked the cohort to think about what is important for each space, what should or shouldn’t it have that would make young people feel safe, comfortable, cared for and able to engage with therapy.

Once they had some thoughts down, we collaged them. Participants could create something conceptual or realistic but something that shows what they would use the space for and how they would make it a safe space. Participants then had the opportunity to feedback their designs to the clients and give their ideas.

Our participants had some fantastic ideas, thinking about the colours of the room and how this impacts the service users, and adding activities and lighting to give the room some atmosphere. Some participants thought about the furniture within the rooms and general maintenance of the building, while others thought about the acoustics of the rooms in terms of waiting rooms and smaller rooms, as to not disturb service users or overwhelm them!

A huge thank you to Pegasus, MGMA Architects and YPAS for their support on the session, as well as PLACED Ambassador Eleana Orr.