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Critical Mass: Respite Pavilion by Graeme Massie Architects


The £36,000 pavilion – which has been entered into this year’s AJ Small Projects Awards – sits in the grounds of a hospital in Scotland


Erected in the grounds of the North Ayrshire Community Hospital, this 69m² pavilion is designed to resonate with the local geology, creating a space where people can feel safe and secure, sheltering from the environment.

Graeme Massie Architects has entered Respite Pavilion into AJ Small Projects 2018, which closes for entries on Friday – you can see other entries to this year’s awards in the AJ Buildings Library.

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433 7757 481 4ea19b6e5e20e8e5c8beb79c9c5624e4

Architect’s view

Access to outdoor environments, and the encouragement of an active lifestyle, play an important role in relation to mental illness and wellbeing. Commissioned as part of an arts strategy for the new Acute Mental Health and North Ayrshire Community Hospital campus, our Respite Pavilion provides an important place of outdoor relaxation; encouraging patients, staff and relatives to escape the wards and waiting rooms of the hospital for the open landscape of the wider campus. Three rectangular planes, each with a circular aperture, intersect to form a pavilion arranged around a stand of birch trees. The pavilion frames views and creates a more hospitable outdoor micro-climate. Seating is loosely dispersed, happily accommodating occupation by groups and individuals.

The construction explores how the earth and geology of an area can help create a meaningful sense of place, rooting it in a wider landscape context. A ground plane defines the extent of the intervention and is formed from red-toned, self-binding sands and gravels. Upon this, the structure is formed from board-marked concrete, with iron-oxide pigmentation to create an earthly affinity with the geology of the wider Ayrshire region.

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433 7757 481 419cd50fe56d09b77f5549b0b75a7a04

Project data

Start on site May 2016
Completion September 2016
Gross internal floor area 69m²
Form of contract Bespoke
Construction cost £36,000
Architect Graeme Massie Architects
Client NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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3088872 ajspad2018v3p4p

How to enter AJ Small Projects

  1. Head to the AJ Small Projects Awards website, register and pay your entry fee
  2. An email will then be sent to you with log in details for the AJ Buildings Library 
  3. Upload your project to the AJ Buildings Library. You will need to provide: 
  • A 150-300 word text describing your project
  • At least eight photographs, five drawings and one working detail to illustrate your project. NB Images should be high resolution and you must be able to give us third-party reproduction rights (for publication in the AJ, AJ Buildings Library and distribution to other publications to promote the awards)
  • Project details including name of practice, name of project, date of completion, total cost, gross internal floor area, client, structural engineer, services engineer, quantity surveyor, main contractor, and other subcontractors and suppliers


  • Entries must have been completed between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2017
  • All entries must have a maximum total contract value of £250,000
  • Projects must not have had significant coverage in the architectural press (if your project has been covered elsewhere, please declare where)
  • Projects must be located in the UK or built by a UK-based practice abroad
  • All entries will be displayed in the AJ Buildings Library


16 February 2018


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