The design for the centre responds primarily to two key considerations. Firstly, research carried out on rehabilitation architecture pointed towards the positive effects of patients that have increased access to nature, stressing that views towards a natural setting and having the physical ability to be in a natural setting as key factors.
The building's plan has been developed so that interior spaces look out into a generous planted courtyard. The courtyard is sheltered and only able to be accessed privately to allow patients to enjoy a safe, open and well-planted outdoor area. Between the main accommodation and the gym/OT facilities, we have incorporated a landscaped laneway populated with planting, benches and a basketball court to act as a secondary outdoor space. The other main design consideration was to create a building that was inclusive, familiar and which catered to a diverse range of people. This idea was integrated into the design through multiple breakout lounges to make semi-private social areas for patients and visitors, a focus on using natural materials wherever possible and a residential orientation in the selection of finishes, spatial sizing and details to make the building feel comforting in the way that a home may feel.
From the exterior, the long exaggerated proportion of the building is concealed behind two earth mounds. On approach, glimpses of the building are able to be seen through a purposefully placed gap in the mounds and it is only when the main vehicle entrance is reached that the building can be understood in its entirety. The building is framed by a planted bank that rises from its west elevation, and beyond that, by Mt Rungituhi.