Linden Farm – Surrey

Designed to provide tenants with a person-centred home environment

Project Name: Linden Farm

Company: Stora Enso, Haverstock Architects + Eurban

Sector: Health

Technology: Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)


Linden Farm is a supported living development for ten young adults with autism and high support needs, designed to provide tenants with a person-centred home environment that also forms an integral part of the local community.

The ten homes are built from CLT and are split into two typologies; there are five individual cottages and two shared cottages. In the wider site, there is an activity centre with sensory and therapy provision, an activity room and staff areas. The principles of inclusive design are embedded into every detail of this project as a key part of the brief was to create a safe, yet homely and nurturing environment for the tenants who have complex sensory needs. A strong objective was to ensure that the development is in no way institutional in feel or aesthetics and this has been achieved with the help of the exposed CLT walls and ceilings that feature widely throughout.

Linden Farm sits within the gentle Surrey landscape on the border of a conservation area and bounded by a protected ancient woodland. The masterplan was purposefully designed to maximise the outstanding semi-rural setting as people with autism can greatly benefit from links to nature. The homes are anchored in the heart of the site by a rich horticulture and sensory garden framework.

There is a wonderful feeling of calm and wellbeing. This is partially to do with the location, which is the beautiful village of Alfold. However, the architecture plays a big part in adding to this sense of calm. The exposed CLT walls, large windows, high ceilings and restrained palate all contribute to the quality of light and feeling of space. The building materials are rich in quality and reflect the local vernacular of brick and treated timber boarding, realised in a contemporary style.

It is this sense of calm and wellbeing that helps create a homely environment ideal for people with autism and high support needs. Haverstock worked hard to reduce visual “noise” and to create a sense of domesticity, with careful consideration to the lighting and views to the wider landscape. The durability yet perceived softness of finishes was at the forefront of every decision. The design for Linden Farm was developed after extensive consultation with clients, stakeholders and the public.

The project completed in May 2019 and residents moved in as part of a carefully planned transition process. Feedback from Surrey County Council Adult Social Care Team (Client) and parents of those living at Linden Farm has been overwhelmingly positive.

Post-occupancy evaluation is currently underway.

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