Project Description

Before beginning this project, I had the intention to solve a problem and help a particular demographic. My interest in the psychological effects of interiors led me to design a building for young mothers, which would facilitate healing, self-development and nurturing. 

My early research revealed that young mothers were particularly vulnerable to mental health issues, with a variety of causes such as loneliness, isolation, economic uncertainty and having to drop out of work or school. My research found that many mothers were unaware of services available to help them, or these services were inaccessible and out of reach.

NEST aims to create an inviting atmosphere that encourages young mothers to seek mental health advice, gives opportunity for socialisation in a supportive community and promote independence and self-development when navigating the world of motherhood. 99 Macdonald Road was chosen as a site for NEST because of its unique position in the wider community, being easily accessible to young mothers with good transport links, located in a residential area, and close by to primary schools and nurseries.

site plan
Site map
Concept diagram
concept diagram
Concept diagram
Design concepts

Developing my design I wanted to create a building that fully catered to a young mother with facilities that would benefit them. I designed each floor differently to include a different experience of the building; for example, whereas the ground floor is a loud space for socialising and play, the second floor is more quiet and relaxing, which is useful for young mothers using the building to study.

The materiality was important in this project and materials chosen were required to be natural and ones which were safe for young children. The shapes, colours and materials take inspiration from nature and the surrounding natural areas around the building, such as the use of willow and birch wood in the building. The use of willow also takes inspiration from birds nests.

play area
Ground floor play area and seating
Basement plan
Ground floor plan
First floor plan
Second floor plan
desk test
Second floor study desks
Section AA
Section BB
Section CC
Section DD
Section EE
Section FF

For my detail design I chose to create an undulating wall and ceiling, with curved study desks wrapping around the wall. The slatted wall and ceiling dampen the acoustics of the second floor to create a calm and relaxing space, as well as making it feel warm and cosy. It encapsulates the idea around NEST as a place that is homely and inviting as well as an escape from everyday life.

Curved study desks
Detail 1
Detail model
Detail 5
Detail model
Computer suite
Second floor computer suite and library
Rendered section showing materiality
View through building
Study desks
Design book
Design book
Promotional card
Promotional card

I am a hardworking and creative Interior Design graduate. My interest in the qualities of light, atmosphere and emotion created in buildings led me to study Interior Design. As a student at the University of Edinburgh, I have developed my ideas about what it is to be an Interior Designer. I am particularly interested now in how interior environments can affect our physical and mental wellbeing, and the ways in which design can be optimised to improve our experiences of space, whether that be through sensory experiences or a connection to our natural environment. As we have become such an indoor-oriented society, I seek to consider how interior design can help society in order to become more creative and healthy. Creating atmosphere is something I consider important, and I am becoming increasingly interested in materiality, and using new and sustainable materials.