Liverpool, UK

Laing O’Rourke with Mersey Care NHS Trust

Lead Consultant
Healthcare Planner
Interior Designer
Landscape Architect


Completed July 2006

Project description:
The Rathbone Low Secure Unit is a 30-bed Forensic Low Secure Unit for adults with mental health illness. Developed on an existing hospital site to re-provide ward and shared accommodation facilities. The unit provides two 15-bedroom wards with associated day spaces, a central hub of activity rooms, and a two-storey reception and administrative zone.

Divided into two 15 bed inpatient wings arranged around secure courtyard gardens, they come together in a common activity centre, ‘Easy Street’. The Street is much more than a circulation route connecting functional areas – it is the informal social heart of the building with activity and therapy rooms, a gym and cafe. Just as streets tie together the social fabric of our towns and cities, this street creates an environment for casual meetings and greetings; spontaneous social activities; even just sitting and watching the world go by.

Medical Architecture’s design aimed to create a range of environments that reflect normal social patterns, where people have opportunities for privacy and quiet relaxation, or to go out to work and socialise. By designing these gradations of territory, the hope was to create a normalising, de-institutionalised environment that gives a full range of therapeutic opportunities helping service users in their recovery or rehabilitation.

“The Street is much more than a circulation route – it is the informal, social heart of the building.” –  Client

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