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. In terms of physical context, the project restores an appropriate sense of urban scale and street-scape to its surrounding environment, with terraced housing asserting a rhythm and continuity to the street. Funded by Loretto Housing Association, the care facility provides valuable support and accommodation to sufferers from alcohol related brain bisease (ARBD), offering a transition between rehabilitation, 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. 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.

I took some time preparing and carrying out a site visit with both the architect and contractor to decide on key angles, and elements to photograph, and to confirm the brief for photography. I like to take quick survey shots to review the building when back at the computer, and these are often useful for establishing best times of day and lighting requirements for the shoot.

The use of long exposure twilight shots, helped to capture the urban edge to the development as well as focusing attention on the building within the fragmented urban environment; which I thought was distracting from the architecture. 

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