Ferndene was the first specialist building that brought together children & young people’s mental health and learning disability services for the first time in the UK.

It is a 40 bedroom residential centre for those aged 4-18 years filling a gap in a national shortage of appropriate facilities for children with challenging behaviours in the north east of England.

Ferndene’s design concept was conceived as a hand with fingers of bedroom accommodation spanning out from a central activity building in the palm. A corridor on one side of each finger provides a view out and natural light in and courtyard gardens signal the transition from private bed spaces to shared therapy areas. The arrangement of graduated space offers views through the entire building and beyond, making a bright and uplifting welcome for patients and visitors.

Monthly forums with service users developed and reinforced strong individual identities of the four ward groups. Through art, poetry, colour and way-finding a story is told forming a site wide narrative that arrives in the key public space informing a vibrant interior scheme actively engaging with its inhabitants along the way.

As Medical Architecture developed the design, with input from the young inhabitants means the building responds directly to their needs. It cleverly avoids characteristics of a traditional mental health building whilst providing a safe, therapeutic and rehabilitative environment.

“We are so pleased with Ferndene, it doesn’t feel like a hospital and is a wonderful place to work. Fellow staff and young people have literally drawn gasps when visiting and that confirms how well it was designed and conceived. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”  Eddy Wilkinson – Education Activities Coordinator at Ferndene

Prudhoe, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear
NHS Trust

Lead Consultant
Healthcare Planning
Interior Design
Landscape Architect

Value: £13,500,000

Status: Completed 2011


  1. International Academy of Design and Health 2012:
    Best Mental Health
  2. Building Better Healthcare Awards 2012:
    Best Use of the Arts
  3. Constructing Excellence National Awards 2012:
    Integration & Collaborative Working Award
  4. Health Service Journal:
    Good Corporate Citizenship Award 2012
  5. Constructing Excellence North East Awards 2012:
    Project of the Year
  6. Constructing Excellence North East Awards 2012:
    Client of the Year
  7. Constructing Excellence North East Awards 2012:
    Integration & Collaborative Working
  8. Constructing Excellence North East Awards 2012:
    Highly Commended – Legacy Award for Sustainability
  9. Society of British Interior Design:
    Innovation Award 2012
  10. Inca Awards 2012:
    Non-residential Award

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