If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

Henry David Thoreau


A project close to home in all senses of the word, Nichaela Richardson’s Seaway sits against the dramatic backdrop of Macduff, her native rural community. Inviting curiosity and exploration, it also tackles socially-led design, specifically geared towards children with ADHD.

‘The key focus of my work is to evoke emotion and change with a strong focus on well-being. The fast-paced environment in which we live may often throw us off-course, but I believe it’s vital to not allow these factors to determine who we are. Living with a condition which is not widely understood, my brother Kieran taught me the value in tenacity and lead me to reflect upon the challenges he faces and how he overcomes them.

ADHD is a condition which affects the frontal lobes of the brain due to an imbalance of the chemical dopamine. This creates symptoms such as lack of concentration, extended hyperactivity and reduced fine motor capabilities which in turn affect social interactions and create emotional dysregulation. Currently, medication is the main treatment of ADHD. Due to the associated symptoms, those with ADHD rely heavily on the senses to process information. Research has shown how frustration is a key emotion felt by children with ADHD. Allowing more varied activities with group participation and encouraging play helps them understand their surroundings and build upon vital social constructs.’


The host building is set within a natural amphitheatre, boasting an Art Deco pavilion with two large outdoor pools and uses a unique draining technique where the sea floods the bottom pool at high tide to wash out old water. This deposits various sea life and debris, which lead to the use of erosion and deposition as a resource in this project.

‘The project has been titled Seaway Sensory Experience, with “Seaway” as a route of travel, inspiring one of the key spaces in which users are submerged out at sea within the water, with changing tides throughout the day. The old infant pool basin has been used as an introduction to the underwater experience and creates a dramatic entrance point as the building has been split in half to create a staircase which will reflect the changing environment.

Items can be collected within the discovery zone above ground (washed in by the tide) and can then be deposited underwater and used for a number of activities including art projects, curations and games.

The design tackles symptoms by building upon fine motor skills through activities of balance, lifting and finding to create an immersive journey which can be enjoyed by all. This new experience for those with ADHD and their families replaces synthetic sensory rooms with a natural environment to play and learn in.’


To see more of Nichaela’s work, head over to Issuu, or connect via Instagram or LinkedIn.