- 2gether NHS Foundation Trust
- 10 bed Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit
Appointed by Speller Metcalfe, due to our extensive design experience within the Healthcare sector, Quattro Design Architects was tasked with delivering a PICU Centre (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit). Working collaboratively with the design team, our challenge involved overcoming the following constraints:
- A tight hospital site
- Difficult access
- Boundaries on two sides comprising large mature lime trees with tree preservation orders
- A site overlooked by the existing hospital.
These obstacles played well into the hands of our specialist team of Healthcare Architects, and their proven ability to effectively handle demanding design and planning tasks.
Working closely with the clinical team, our creative, ground-breaking design provides a series of individual enclosed gardens creating separation between the two buildings with bedrooms carefully, and strategically located to provide a sense of privacy.
Whilst sitting within close proximity of the lime trees, the building envelope undulates around the root protection zones to maximise use of the site footprint, whilst maintaining space for the trees to grow, a feat made more challenging by the parameters mentioned above. The choice of external cladding material encourages a sustainable, sensitive environment by carefully considering the deposit of sap from the lime trees, allowing for self-cleaning by rain.
This state-of-the-art Hospital Architecture design is based around creating a warm, safe, welcoming, non-institutional environment that effectively facilitates interaction between staff and patients, avoiding situations that could lead to isolation. This included maximising strong linear sight lines, avoiding blind spots and enabling observation and management by staff. This is achieved by a central node which houses the staff accommodation with bedroom wings either side and wide curved corridors to give a friendly, all encapsulating experience, ensuring the maintenance of safe escape routes for staff such that neither staff nor patient feel trapped. Noise control and access to natural light are also inclusive to the design to provide a calm, quiet and natural environment.
Patient safety is key to Mental Health Architecture, with anti-ligature design throughout, requiring close integration of mechanical and electrical systems within the spatial design. Additional safety features included specially designed en-suite doors and built in patient monitor systems.
With Sustainable Architecture at the heart of Quattro’s ethos, low energy consumption was a key design objective. To achieve this, various measures were put in place, including a well-insulated, airtight envelope, high levels of natural lighting, solar water heating, wind catchers for ventilation and rainwater harvesting.
Greyfriars has been hailed as exceptional, not only in terms of innovative Mental Health Design but also as considered and sustainable Healthcare Architecture. It has now been visited by some of the leading international experts in acute psychiatric care, some of whom have commented that the unit may be amongst the best in the world.