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Medical Architecture completes Northumbria children's centre

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Work has finished on this children’s mental health centre in Northumblerland designed by Medical Architecture (MAAP)

According to the practice, the 40-bedroom scheme in Prudhoe has been ‘grafted into a mature landscape on the fringe of the countryside’.

The £27.1 million scheme brings together children’s mental health and learning disability services and accommodates children aged 10 to 18 years old.

The architect’s view

The building is 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 eachfinger provides a view out and natural light in. Courtyard gardens signal the transition from private bed spaces to shared therapy areas. This arrangement of graduated space is clear at the entrance where a view through the entire building and beyond makes a bright and uplifting welcome for patients and visitors. The positioning of living and day space at the fingertip sets up panoramic views over the mature woodland and Northumbrian hills beyond.

Shielded from the outside world by the activity centre and overlooked by staff accommodation at first floor, ‘The Street’ creates a safe outdoor space for various patients to move between buildings, encouraging a sense of community that divides “home” from “school” and allows patients to gain a sense of structured activity in a landscaped setting.

Roof slates were salvaged from demolished buildings on site and re-used as cladding for the activity building. The Children’s Centre is particularly sensitive to its surrounding ecology with diverse planting in a wildflower meadow and a sedum nature roof, the provision of bird species boxes and extensive bat roosting space within the building’s loft.


Project data

Architects: Medical Architecture (MAAP)
Location: Prudhoe, Northumberland, UK
Type Of Project: Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Learning Disability Unit
Project Architect: Lianne Knotts RIBA (Associate)
Client: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust
Funding: Capital funded through the NHS
Start on site date: October 2009 – October 2011
Contract duration: 2008 - 2011
Gross internal floor area: 5,347m²
Form of contract and/or procurement: NEC3 NHS ProCure21
Total cost: £27.1m         
Structural Engineers:
Arup – Alan Dunlop
M&E consultant: CAD21 – Peter Ather
Quantity Surveyor: Summers Inman
Planning supervisor: CDM - Ted Jefferies
Main contractor: Laing O’Rourke
Selected subcontractors and suppliers: Artist: Artstop Studios – Dan Savage. Ironmongery - Laidlaw
Annual co2 emissions: Unknown so far
BREEAM Rating: Excellent

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