St. Richard's Hospice
Highly sustainable multi-function space
A natural tranquil environment
Associated Architects was appointed to strategically review their masterplan and site potential, analysing the site and existing buildings to determine how they could adapt to future needs.
A phased programme of redevelopment was created to improve multiple existing spaces, provide additional facilities for patients and increase the office/meeting/training accommodation for staff.
One of the key interventions was to make better use of an internal courtyard by creating “The Green” – a fully enclosed Winter Garden to provide a multi-use space for the benefit of patients, staff and visitors at the heart of the hospice. This key space is celebrated with the use of a low carbon sculptural pre-finished glulam roof structure that supports pre-fabricated plywood roof coffers with rooflights. The use of pre-fabrication was key to construction programming and logistics, as well as finished quality. The design uses laminated timber to create strong architectural tree-like columns defining a spectacular new top-lit space. An abundance of natural light reduces the reliance on electricity.
The team worked in a highly collaborative way to overcome the complexities of joining the new structure to the existing building.
As a contemporary form of the Winter Garden typology, it creates a multifunctional informal flexible space that is welcoming, inspiring, and pleasant for patients to enjoy with visitors, chaplaincy and hospice staff or alone, as well as a venue for well-being sessions and courses. They will be able to benefit from a natural tranquil environment that embodies the vision of living well and provides horticultural therapy, without the need to go outside which is often not possible due to their condition or the British weather.
As inviting as possible to all users
Surrounding The Green are a series of more intimate spaces, formed by reordering rooms within the existing building and which will provide a variety of therapeutic, leisure and consultation facilities.
Semi-enclosed seating areas are scattered throughout the space, defined by high-backed sofas, interior planting, glulam timber columns and (at the perimeter) lowered ceilings to create intimate human-scale spaces with differing levels of privacy. These will provide a soothing space for clinical/therapeutic activities such as informal consultations, meetings, and talking therapies, as well as for visiting and relaxation. By using the spaces for both types of activities it attempts to “normalise” the clinical activities.
The natural environment is created through the provision of copious planting, as well as the repeated warm tree-like timber columns themselves that intersect on a diagonal grid. Controlled roof glazing gives excellent natural light and there is natural ventilation – both of which offer a range of well-documented health and well-being benefits. Acoustic design, under floor heating, up-lighting, down-lighting and solar control also ensure The Green is as inviting as possible to all users.
It was awarded Healthcare Project of the Year in the Structural Timber Awards.