Our Vision - Creating Healing Spaces
A building sensitive to the direction of light and the seasons
“We were determined from the very beginning that the hospital would be art, not have art.” - Dr David Reilly, Project Director
We all understand that the physical environment affects us, particularly if we are unwell or vulnerable. So what are we to do about our hospital? How can we offer patients and staff a more healing environment?
At the hospital, we set out to do just this – to create a place of beauty and healing, and in so doing offer a new model for a better healing environment.
The close-knit design team that brought together medics, administrators, architects and artists, has managed to create an award-winning functional hospital of singular beauty that complies with all NHS guidelines regarding quality standards, operating efficiency and cost.
Our achievement not only benefits the staff and patients, but also offers a new vision for re-humanising care that can be readily applied elsewhere in the NHS and other care systems.
One of the earliest suggestions made by the NHS was that the Project Director should choose modular units from catalogues that could then be combined to form the finished hospital. Though this would have been easy to do, it would not result in a place of healing and beauty as intended, but nonetheless spurred on the Project Director to look for more creative solutions.
Dr Reilly approached Paul Anderson of the Glasgow School of Art who pointed him in the direction of the Deputy Director Jimmy Cosgrove who in turn guided him to Mike Haynes, Director of Planning for the City of Glasgow. Mike Haynes not only understood our vision for the hospital, but crucially recognised that the central role the future users of the building would play in the design process corresponded exactly with the aspirations of Glasgow’s European City of Architecture Year in 1999. Thus the new hospital became one of its first projects – and the first conceptual brick was laid.
The trail then lead to Neil Baxter Associates who recommended that we set up a design competition to find the right architects and steered us through this sometimes complex process, using the Royal Institute of Architecture of Scotland Guidelines.
The fantastic response resulted in 60 entries that were put on public display in Princes Square and a booklet which can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here. If you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader and PDF viewer click here.
The judging process was extremely difficult given the very high quality of the entries and the need for input from patients and staff, as well as judges from both architecture and medicine. David Mackay of MBM Architects Barcelona provided critical input on how to best balance innovation and sensitivity against deliverability within budget and eventually a clear winner emerged.
The winners were Glasgow-based Macmon Architects who showed a vision for the building that excited the entire panel and showed a masterful handling of interior and exterior space. To find more out about the building follow the links to the next section.
“The central role of the users in the creation of the building corresponded exactly to Glasgow’s aspirations for its year as ‘European City of Architecture’ in 1999.” - Mike Hayes, Director of Planning for the City of Glasgow
Building - The Healing Space
At the hospital, patients are treated with the utmost respect and dignity. The building has been designed to meet both the physical and psychological needs of the patients, rather than forcing them to adapt to the operational needs of the hospital or any arbitrary architectural principles.
The exterior of the building is welcoming – not threatening – and is much larger than it first appears. The reception area is open, with a friendly interior, and bears a greater resemblance to a Scandinavian health spa than a fully functioning modern hospital capable of treating 10,000 outpatients and 500 inpatients every year.
The layout of the building offers a functional elegance to match first expectations. After discussion with staff and patients, the design was modified slightly so that ‘care’ spaces have a direct view and connection to nature and are protected from direct sound paths, while staff areas are located to the north and east of the building to avoid direct sunlight during working hours.
Roof/clerestory arrangements provide natural lighting for deep plan corridors, waiting areas and enhances, as well as enhancing natural airflow and ventilation throughout the building.
Since staff face the sometimes demanding task of dealing with some very sick patients, some of whom have been previously viewed as untreatable, the Design Team has placed an equal emphasis on ensuring that staff health and wellbeing is given a similar level of priority. Not only are the consulting rooms and therapeutic areas positioned and fitted in an attractive and functional manner, but the staff rest areas and dining room have also been constructed and decorated in the same fastidious manner.
“We have so much more space than we had before: it’s unreal. The building is rather deceptive because inside there is more space than light than you think from the outside.“ - Morag White, Physiotherapist
Building - The Future
The current building represents phase one of the project to replace the old 15 bed hospital from the 1930s. The only wholly new feature within the new hospital is a 40-seater seminar room.
A Phase Two is being considered, if the necessary funds can be raised, which will incorporate a range of new facilities, including:
- a water therapy area
- an academic area, for conferences, research and teaching
- a multi-use space for therapeutic arts such as dance and music
- a café-bistro and a retail pharmacy
The aim is to create a ‘wellness’ centre that breaks down the traditional barriers between the hospital and the outside world and the artificial divisions within medicine. Here people could come in the evening and have water therapy, massage and aromatherapy and enjoy great food in the café-bistro.
The Design Team were also very keen to consult and advise on best practice to improve the quality of health care provision in Scotland and the UK. Their experience showned that a modern hospital does not need to be a cold, threatening environment, but can be designed with the comfort of the patient uppermost in the mind – without any additional cost per square metre over a standard NHS hospital. Add to this the incalculable benefits to the patients in terms of improved health and well-being, and believe they can offer overwhelming arguments for change.
This desire seems to already bearing fruit with the local NHS Trust adopting as the new standard for future NHS building design in the area.
“The question of the effective therapeutic relationship is very important in all this. If there is a healing, constructive relationship between doctor and patient, the together we can go forward and look for answers.” - Dr David Reilly, Director
Kirsty Aitken [email protected]
Jilli Blackwood www.jilliblackwood.com
Jim Buchanan www.landartist.co.uk
Elaine Clarke [email protected]
Lizzie Farey www.lizziefarey.co.uk
Andrew McIntyre Art Installation [email protected]
Mike Bolum Photography [email protected]
Cameron McIlwham Web Site Design [email protected]
David Griffith Web Site Copywriter [email protected]
Mike Bolum [email protected]
Jane Kelly [email protected]
Cameron McIlwham [email protected]
David Griffith [email protected]
Macmon Architects [email protected]