New nursing facility for St Mary's
The project at St. Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park was awarded following a HSE led design-build competition for a new 100 bed Community Nursing Unit, including a nursing home, with nursing support, rehabilitation services and ancillary facilities in an environment matched to the needs of long and short stay elderly public patients. The project focused on a new design approach for the development of community / elderly care hospitals placing the patient experience at the core; from architectural concept to building completion.
The concept is based on a flexible, modular solution which is adaptable to different site conditions and brief constraints. It consists of four distinct elements; 2 no. 25 bed ward modules designed as individual enclosed courtyard buildings, a central public entrance foyer & communal space, and a fourth module of therapy and support spaces off the central space.
The building complex with its individual houses creates an appropriate scale and a variety of internal and external public and private spaces; it also supports orientation within the complex through a modulated circulation system that maximises and encourages freedom of patient movement throughout.
This modular approach allows great flexibility in the positioning of the wards by reference to the central and support spaces. The building may be easily adapted and developed in the future, (e.g. by way of additional rooms or support service), in a planned manner that is contained within the overall design logic of the scheme.
The ward plan is designed around a central courtyard in a traditional cloister form to ensure that the ward building is appropriately contained and that no individual room is remote from the central communal and support spaces. Circulation is relieved with continuous views / access to courtyards which are treated as external rooms, while bedrooms are light filled with views and terraces to private gardens.
Most patients are long stay and it was of fundamental importance in the design to provide excellent qualities of light and natural ventilation within bedrooms; these face east, south or west, are not overlooked, and enjoy maximum sunlight throughout the year. The internal layout of the rooms allows both clear visual connection to the elderly patient and provision of personal patient space in the form of an external terrace to each room.
This focus on natural light and ventilation is supported by the provision of properly designed and integrated landscaped spaces for patient use. The design optimises the integration of the external and internal environment, creating views and thresholds between internal and external enclosures.
Special attention is given to access to secure outdoor spaces, which are seen as an integral element of the healing process and the well being of the patient. The outdoor areas, which are contained within the original stone walled gardens, are fully accessible and are all designed to provide a variety of sun-filled, quiet and contemporary garden spaces.
The project was designed to facilitate a modular approach to construction to facilitate programme efficiency, and was completed on site and accepted its first patients within seven months following commencement on site by the Contractor.