Valeriya's background in science has allowed her to develop a keen interest in research that she now applies in developing evidence-based design solutions in her second career as a designer. Her love for nature has inspired her to search for biophilic design strategies to support human well-being, while investigating sustainable design options to help contribute to the welfare of the whole planet.
As an avid nature lover, Valeriya has a passion for biophilic design. Her design of the Alton Mill Community Centre focused on the needs of the local community, while connecting the users with nature through a variety of biophilic design strategies that support their overall well-being. The chosen location for this project is the former Alton Mill, whose heritage status posed a unique design challenge and guided the functional and aesthetic design decisions. The site itself is immersed in nature, which reinforces the effect of the biophilic design strategies employed in the interior
Biophilic design was the overarching guiding framework for the Alton Mill Community Centre, while the conceptual approach investigated the idea of immersion. Immersion in nature through the exploration of natural forms and patterns led to the development of the floor plate that approximates Golden ratio in its layout and is inspired by the geometries found in nature. The project incorporates spaces that offer hands-on activities that immerse the users in the experience of nature. Finally, spatial integration of new forms into the existing heritage fabric of the building was inspired by the process of immersion of objects into water and their tendency to either float, be suspended or sink.
The site is located on a large property, immersed in nature. The building overlooks a large pond, created by damming of Shaw's Creek, which runs through the property. The unique connection of the site to nature reinforces the biophilic design strategies implemented in the interior.
Integration of new architectural features into the existing fabric of the building was inspired by the behaviour of objects when immersed in water.
3D development of key spaces was guided by the biophilic design framework, which explored concepts, such as human-nature relationships, prospect vs refuge, curiosity and enticement, use of real natural elements and imitation of natural forms.