1196 Tolcross Road, Care Facility, Collective Architecture

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Perched on a sloping site that rises to address the busy Tolcross Road, Collective Architecture have combined affordable rented housing with the facilities for care and rehabilitation to sufferers from Alcohol Related Brain Disease. In terms of physical context, the project restores an appropriate sense of urban scale and street-scape to its surrounding environment, with housing asserting a rhythm and continuity to the street,  despite the challenges of building in a somewhat fragmented locality with garage forecourts and perimeter security fencing both adjacent and opposite to the site. Funded by Loretto Housing Association, the care facility which occupies the majority of the site, provides valuable support and accommodation, offering a transition between rehabilitation programmes, and greater personal independence for its residents.

This was a fascinating project to photograph as the building reveals itself through a contrast of communal and private spaces; stepped and layered onto the site in such a way that the physical form of the building and its different practical uses are embraced. My background in architecture really helps with these projects, working from plans and a site recce initially, in understanding the complexity of a building.

Protected within the heart of the scheme are individual living studios wrapped around courtyards offering a tranquil environment for residents, whilst the centre’s staff, office and communal areas flank the eastern edge and gradient; forming an architecture which helps define the centre and breaks away from the predominantly brick materiality, to use a lighter clad envelope interspersed with glazing and coloured panels.

With a building like this it is worth taking time to decide on key angles, and elements to photograph and to be able to confirm clients requirements are met. I like to take quick survey shots to remind me of the building when back at the computer and these are often useful for establishing best times of day and lighting requirements.

The use of long exposure twilight shots, helped to capture the urban edge to the development as well as helping to centre attention on the building as the surrounding urban environment can be distracting from the architecture. 

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