a new heart space for our community
Newton Dee Village was looking for a fresh approach to its cultural and social centre. Providing a new physical and mental heart space for this life sharing community of over 200 members required a design process that put the soul first. In numerous creative community workshops a vibrant social and artistic climate was created that generated the vision for a total redesign of the village green, the landscaping, the infrastructure and a generous replacement building.
The consensus design process and participatory engagement of the community from conception to completion was as vital to the project as the actual building design.
Lothar Haasis recalls: “the building is a reflection of the social process. Leading people’s vision and bringing in strong consultants and artists was by way the most demanding collaborative task, I have ever undertaken. The enthusiasm and the challenges individuals brought to the group made this project not just a great community centre but also a piece of social art.”
This epitomises the essence of the Camphill spirit, which sees architecture as a community building impulse. Addressing the human dimension in art and cultivating everyday actions in artic ways is a fundamental part of the Camphill ethos.
The project was completed in collaboration with Camphill Architects in spring 2012, followed by a week of cultural events for the grand opening at midsummer that year. Newton Dee Phoenix Centre was awarded the Civic Award 2012 in October.