New psychiatric unit integrates its layout with the landscape for an enhanced patient experience
The new Bluestone Psychiatric Unit, located within the grounds of the Craigavon Acute Hospital, replaces the facilities previously located at Craigavon and Armagh. This new mixed-sex facility, set almost in its own parkland with views toward a semi-rural landscape, brings patients into direct contact with nature at all stages of their therapy. The design team were appointed by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, with Health Estates acting as project managers. The project was funded through capital funds for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS).
Upon appointment, the design team undertook a long and detailed consultation process which continued throughout the design development of the facility and involved all user groups including clinicians, patients, carers and staff. The key objectives of the project were the integration of internal space and landscape with clear routes through the building designed to enhance the patient’s experiences. The whole scheme is designed to have low environmental impact with security issues being discreetly addressed by the planning of the buildings and landform.
The buildings have been zoned into different levels of security and privacy. As a result the more public day facilities have been located towards the front entrance of the site, with the residential inpatient facilities located towards the rear; a more tranquil and leafy location. High priority was given to the specification of anti-ligature fixtures and fittings, ensuring resistance to vandalism and potential for self-harming.
The building was designed to allow the maximum penetration of daylight and where possible, natural ventilation was used with mechanical ventilation only used in critical areas. In order to maximise energy efficiency several features such as rainwater harvesting, infra-red water controls, low flush WCs together with motion sensors etc. have been employed to further reduce energy waste.