The power of light - Greenhouse as a space for sensory therapy

The power of light - Greenhouse as a space for sensory therapy

Daylight in buildings - Region 2: Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Alicja Nalikowska

Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Poznaniu


Download ↓

The aim of the project is to increase public awareness of the functioning of people with autism. These topics stem from the need to break formal and mental barriers in architecture, in favor of seeking solutions that foster a greater sense of community.

The greenhouse is a place that influences the development of the individual through various manual therapy workshops, supported by the beneficial influence of sunlight. The glazing allows for ideal lighting of the space, which affects mental hygiene, well-being and the desire to work.

The project adapts an abandoned greenhouse on the site of the former Manor and Landscape Complex in Kolibki, Gdynia. The original structure divided the building into a glazed breeding section and a brick backroom with a boiler room. Adaptation in a natural way allowed the use of the first part for the needs of therapeutic space, locating in the second part organizational and social facilities.

The choice of the greenhouse allowed for maximum use of natural sunlight. Its essence is transparency, which continues also in the interior – it is at the same time expressive and light, giving spatial impressions, thanks to openwork structures. The functional arrangement has been shaped by means of free-standing forms, whose important function is sensory stimulation. They can be touched, submerging the senses in the used textures and colors. Thanks to natural lighting they become three-dimensional, drawing on the floor unobvious shadows, stimulating the imagination.

Five workshop zones have been designed – they are intended to teach the individual a sense of agency, patience, acquire or strengthen cognitive impressions, improve the ability to concentrate and familiarize with new experiences. With the sensory in mind, materials selected for their physical properties and associated connotations were introduced, emphasizing the diversity of forms, textures and colors.

The project includes the replacement of the deteriorated steel structure and the insertion of new windows with a Velux electric sun blinds. Thanks to a remote control, the light intensity is regulated according to the needs of the zone.