The Oakwood Adult Autism Unit located within the former Oakland’s Hospital site provides long term specialist residential accommodation for adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, who require 24 hour support.

Specific features have been incorporated to enhance salutogenic effects to accommodate the complex needs of this particular patient group.

Acoustically the interiors provide quiet and calming spaces where care staff can passively observe from a distance or engage directly with residents.

A key challenge for the project was to design a space which addresses the intricacies of autism where the provision of comfortable, protective spaces allows residents a level of independence.

Oakwood is naturally shielded by woodland trees from the nearby Oakgrove residential development.  With a civic presence the building is both private and secure for its vulnerable residents. Consequently, the Oakwood Adult Autism Unit emphasises its inward-looking aspect; as vertical timber cladding wraps protectively around the external facade and allows the building to sit comfortably in its woodland setting.

The interior spaces open onto a generous and secure central courtyard; providing natural daylight and views on to soft landscaping.

‘The process, right from the beginning, felt inclusive and we felt we were listened to.  Such a process leaves us excited for the future building potentially delivering the right consideration to the clinical needs of the specific population it will serve.’
– Matt Dodwell, Service Manager
for Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust 2012

Oaklands Hospital, Caterham, Surrey, UK

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Lead Consultant
Contract Administrator
Healthcare Architect
Health Planner
Interior Designer
Landscape Architect


Completed March 2014

BREEAM Rating:

Ref: 647


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