The biggest challenge in designing a hospice is in creating the right ambience for the most important people in the building; the patients. Whilst it is a clinical facility, and has to provide the services and medical support needed by terminally ill patients, it is emphatically not a hospital. As much as possible, a homely feel, and visual interest created by quirky architectural detailing is the key to success.
From an early stage in the design, Andrew Dyke was keen to include curved shapes, which are known for enhancing the therapeutic properties of buildings. The initial concept was for a horseshoe-shaped building, surrounding a central garden, and with a thatched roof. This initial concept was rejected by the Environment Department, who were very keen to see the original hospice building reconstructed in the same position, as it is a well-known visual landmark.
The revised and approved design still includes curved elements in the reception and residential hospice areas as well as the chapel. Changes in roof materials and colour designate different functions and a glass corridor connects the reception to the patient areas. In front of the day-hospice and the residential hospice are individual landscaped gardens which act as external ‘rooms’ and form a very important part of the overall concept. The gardens were designed by Landscape Architect, Steve Welch, in conjunction with CCD Architects.
The hospice has been constructed in two distinct blocks; that which stands on the footprint of the old hospice has been reconstructed so that the external appearance mirrors that of the old building. Unfortunately the old building had an internal layout which was unable to facilitate the functions of a modern hospice, therefore the decision was made to demolish and reconstruct this building, with the added benefit of being able to incorporate high levels of insulation, along with a revised internal layout. Whilst this block is distinguished by its white render, slate roofscapes and granite facades, the contrasting patients’ wing is noticeable for its curved footprint and red pantile roof.
The formation of a curved footprint, is derived from the desire to provide each patient with his or her own external room, with their own unique and private view of the gardens which are enclosed by the curvature of the new building.
The construction of a curved building is not without its technical challenges. However, by using modern structural engineering techniques and utilising a concrete and steelwork frame, the building quickly took shape. As well as exceptionally high levels of insulation, the building utilises alternative energy in the form of heat-pumps to provide underfloor heating and hot water.
Other technical innovations have also been incorporated into the building such as patient handling equipment, specialist bathing facilities and dedicated rooms where various types of therapy can be carried out, in order to deliver a hospice fit for the 21st Century.
The construction of the new hospice provides a modern, state of the art facility which can be used to benefit all Island residents, both now and for many years to come. CCD Architects have been privileged to work with all involved, and who have contributed in so many ways to making this a reality.