The brief from G4S and Carillion, the contractor, was to design (and then five-years later to expand) the new Medway Secure Training Centre, which would provide education, specialist support and interventions for 76 young males and females both sentenced and remanded by the court.
Cookham Wood, Kent
The overarching aim of the centre is to provide a secure living environment and enhance young people’s existing skills, while improving their educational ability and aspirations for the future. The young people live in groups of five, with two supervisors in each housing unit. This approach helps the teams work with the individuals to support their positive rehabilitation, managing their seamless transition back into the community.
All of the buildings are of brick construction with pitched roofs. These look like any other domestic dwelling but take into account the vulnerable nature of the occupants and are therefore designed to be anti-climb and robust in construction. All areas of the homes and communal buildings are also designed to prevent the possibility of self-harm, using anti-ligature fixtures and designing-out sharp edges or surfaces throughout.
Five years after the centre first opened, ONE was invited back to design and oversee an expansion to almost double the capacity of the centre, ensuring security was maintained and the facility could remain fully operational throughout.
By using the housing blocks themselves as perimeter fencing, this design feature eliminated the need for ‘prison style’ fencing, giving the centre a non-institutionalised atmosphere.
The layout of the complex - with the housing blocks facing inwards towards a ‘village green’ - has helped create a community and ‘village feel’, where young people and their supervisors can feel safe. The intuitive courtyard design is easily readable, making controlled movements within the centre possible.
Virtually doubling the capacity of the centre with new housing and educational facilities was a large and complex task but with ONE’s experience in phasing works in a secure environment, the project was completed on time, without compromising the security and daily routines of young people within the existing facility.