Netley Autistic Unit
London Borough of Camden
Netley is Camden’s first specialist unit dedicated to educating autistic primary school children within a mainstream setting. It accommodates sixteen children for gradual integration into appropriate parts of the mainstream curriculum of Netley Primary School. The building also re-houses the community centre, whose main purpose is to offer IT instruction and literacy classes to adults under the HeadStart programme. It also includes a small crèche. The centre helps develop skills which will enable adults, especially young mothers, to enter the labour force, and is particularly focused on the immigrant community living in the area. The design of the facility is focused on bringing daylight into the building. Tall windows in the classroom spaces allow the children a view outside. The interior finishes are selected to stimulate the unique learning needs of the children with autism. Leaning ‘wave effect’ walls give the rooms a dynamic quality and create playful learning spaces. An outdoor courtyard forms a bridge between the existing school and the new building where the children can play in a safe environment.