The new National Forensic Mental Health Hospital in Dublin replaces the Central Mental Hospital, transforming an out of date, inadequate facility into a modernised mental health campus. The historic asylum was created in 1850, its institutional style design reflective of a regressive period in mental health, when isolation and stigma hindered the care and recovery of patients.

As the sole forensic mental health campus in the Republic of Ireland, this redevelopment marks a significant step forward in the country’s approach and commitment to mental health. Alongside the hospital clinical leadership and architects Scott Tallon Walker, Medical Architecture developed the design from strategic planning through to construction.

The new hospital campus accommodates 250 high and medium secure mental health beds, comprised of four distinct facilities: the National Forensic Hospital; a Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit; a Forensic Mental Health Intellectual Disability Unit; and a Forensic Intensive Care Rehabilitation Unit.

The design provides a safe and secure setting with modern buildings set out to make the best use of the existing topology, woodland setting and long coastal views. The new hospital will maximise the usable space for service users, with logistics and security located around the perimeter freeing up the central gardens for safe and secure patient amenity and therapeutic activities. Approached through a new public plaza, the civic entrance building provides a single gateway to the secure campus. Each patient group is accommodated in distinctive buildings which are carefully planned for the safety, privacy and dignity of individuals. Residential elements are organised around a village centre which hosts sports and other shared therapy facilities.

Portrane, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Mental Health

Health Service Executive, Ireland

Lead Consultant


Completed 2020