Text description provided by the architects. ORTUS, home of Maudsley Learning is a 1,550sqm pavilion housing learning and event facilities, cafe and exhibition spaces. The central focus of this unique project, initially coined ‘Project Learning Potential’, is to create a totally immersive learning environment generating a series of interconnecting spaces to encourage intuitive learning activities either in groups or individually and also to create possibilities for digital learning via social media.
The building is now home to Maudsley Learning, a Community Interest Company which has been set up to run the building. It’s vision is to raise knowledge and awareness of mental health and wellbeing which it intends to achieve through the building, through the development of a virtual learning environment and the creation of learning events focusing on mental health and wellbeing across a broad audience. In response to locally evident contextual influences the building has been conceived as a free standing pavilion, regular in both plan and volume.
The building has a simple rectilinear form, with elevations composed to compliment the Georgian principles of proportion, scale, hierarchy and materiality. A 1200 mm vertical grid, of precast concrete fins, articulates the contrasting materials of brick and glass, whilst floor slabs are expressed in the same material ensuring the stagger of the floor plates is abundantly clear to even the casual passer-by. Terraces at ground, inset balconies above, and a large roof terrace further articulate the simplicity of the building, whilst creating positive connections between internal spaces and the abundant landscape which sits in and around the project.
Spatially, the building is planned as a series of flexible, sub-dividable spaces positioned around a central multifunctional tiered space, navigated by a grand ‘open’ staircase. The central space is key to controlling the environmental performance of the building, which is uniquely passive, by introducing abundant natural light from a glazed roof into the heart of the plan, feeding each floor plate. In turn automated glazed vents throughout the building envelope introduce cooling air as required at each level throughout day and night, feeding the central stack of the void.
Externally, the building is articulated through a regular pattern of brick panelling and full height windows, framed by an external expression of the concrete frame, with vertical and horizontal fins of pre-cast concrete.