Camphill School, Aberdeen






Collective Architecture


Camphill School Aberdeen


Camphill School Aberdeen (CSA) is a unique and inspiring place offering sector leading education, care and therapy to children and young people with additional support needs. As the founding place of the international Camphill Movement, CSA holds a special significance.In 2018 Collective Architecture were selected by CSA to deliver a £10m capital investment development over two of its campuses (Murtle and Camphill Estate).  The brief outlined the need for significant and urgent capital investment in the estates to ensure that CSA can maintain and increase their service capacity whilst continuing to deliver excellent services within an environment that meets current care standards.The initial study, outlining the development framework, site strategies, design principles and a phasing strategy was completed in September 2019 with the design development for Phase 1 expected to commence in early 2021.The design approach sought to improve and modernise CSA’s facilities whilst maintaining a strong emphasis on the ethos of the Camphill Movement. A holistic approach to landscape, buildings and people was taken and applied across scales from estate wide zoning to the carefully considered material palette. This was driven by an innovative, collaborative, design-led approach with local stakeholder and community involvement.The concept of living within a home which is part of a village community is central to the proposals. Without a radical overhaul, existing character zones in both estates have been strengthened providing greater clarity, and in turn, assisting with wayfinding across the site.  Residential zones are clustered to the periphery with clear connections throughout which work with the site’s topography.  The central site is opened-up with a focus on education and outdoor activity. Places to work are strengthened towards the public entrances. A landscape structure interlinks these zones.This approach works to blur boundaries between indoors and outdoors, thus leading to the development of courtyard buildings arranged in clusters. As well as providing better linkage between buildings and moving away from a singular building with no defined external boundaries, this also encourages safe and fluid movement between spaces, creating calm and order for young people whilst activating the senses and offering choice.Concept designs for the different building typologies illustrate how the design principles can be flexibly applied in each future project to respond to particularities in sites, brief and user requirements. Building typologies include - Residential Homes, Co-Worker Accommodation and the refurbishment and extension of Murtle House and Camphill hall.