Therapy Centre, Merthyr Tydfil

Following a competitive interview KOVE were appointed to undertake a feasibility study to assess the potential conversion of the much altered and very derelict former general hospital in Merthyr Tydfil into a centre for holistic therapy.

Having carried out a detailed fabric condition survey, and with particular regard to the building's intended reuse, we reasoned that it was neither economically viable, nor desirable to attempt to 'restore' the building to its original condition. Instead, we proposed a strategy of considered evolution, within which the external masonry would be repaired and carefully modified both to temper the building's historic formality and improve its physical accessibility. A therapeutic 'landscape' would then be introduced to its consolidated interior, consisting of carefully choreographed interventions linked by sensory gardens, reflecting the psychological benefits of fragrance, texture, light and sound.

The 'landscape' carefully mediates the site's existing topogrphic section to provide the spatial seperationand privacy dictated by the project's sensitive brief that includes counsellingfacilities for both adult and child victims of trauma, 'safe house' accommodation, training facilities and a specialist lecture facility.

Finally, this neccessarily benign character is manifest also in the scheme's intended environmental strategy that utilises low-impact passive technologies, including evaporatively-cooled natural ventilation, a ground-source heat pump, photovoltaic micro-generation and rainwater harvesting.

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