May 5, 2015

RIBA Award for Hopewood Park


Director, Paul Yeomans, is very proud to announce Hopewood Park won an RIBA Award on Friday 1st, May. Our client Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Trust, NHS Trust, was also presented with “North East Client of the Year”. Paul went on to say “Well done to everybody involved. It’s very gratifying that the building has been recognised for design quality. It has been a tremendous project.” This is what the judges said…

Jury Comments

Hopewood Park is the latest in a series of buildings designed by Medical Architecture to accommodate the specific needs of an intensive service for mental health patients. This is an important point because it became evident on visiting the scheme that many of the well thought out arrangements and features of both the way the building is planned and the opportunities taken to connect to the landscape it sits in result from a developing design approach for this client.

The site is laid out as a village might be with a ‘readable’ circulation or street pattern, views through buildings and spaces. External covered streets act as corridors but without the requirement for heating, cleaning or maintenance. A central building, the Barton building, accommodates all the administrative, social and amenity functions for the site, and appears as a community hall or focal point might. At three storeys itis visible from around the campus acting as an orientation marker.

The site is planned to afford long views to the sea in the distance and short views into courtyards, streets, squares and gardens. Each of these urban devices relates to the hierarchy of spaces at the ward level, signalling privacy, quiet, relaxation and active spaces. There are little ‘prizes’ in framed views, glass art pieces and unexpected connections as patients, staff and visitors move around the space. While it is evident on close inspection that this environment is medical in nature there is plenty of colour, openness to the spatial planning, smart detailing for ventilation and bedroom arrangements, artwork and thoughtful use of finishes to offer a really welcoming and resourceful facility.

One design factor that helps deliver that feeling is the decision to run a maintenance route around each ward building at roof level giving access to plant and all services without disturbing the ward activity. In turn this modifies the roof profile enough to allow half the corridor width to be raised in ceiling-height, letting daylight in and thus becoming a key contributor to the very pleasant ambience of the place.

Hopewood Park performs well in sustainability terms for a highly serviced 24 hour building although it is hard to measure value as it has no comparators outside the public health sector. The client who headed the visit clearly enjoyed the experience and feels very proud of the building.

Images © Jennie Webb 2014