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Up-and-coming Glasgow practice wins green light for Scottish hospice


A practice set up last year by two former NORD architects has been given the go ahead for plans to build a new hospice in Greenock, Scotland

The proposals by McGinlay Bell, set up by Brian McGinlay and Mark Bell in January 2016, include a four-storey, eight-bed hospice building, which steps down to three-storeys.

Inverclyde Council approved the 1,800m² scheme, which also includes a café, kitchen and office space, and will replace the two hospice buildings currently on the site.

According to the practice, which described the planning approval as a ’milestone’ for the firm, it chose to use blonde stone and lightly coloured bricks for the exterior of the building to ’reinforce the building’s connection to its surroundings’.

Director McGinlay said the project would propel the studio ’into a larger scale of work’ while ’offering opportunity to design environments of a more specialised building typology.’ 

Subject to funding, work is expected to start on site in early 2019.

Mb ardgowan hospice ipu floor plan

Mb ardgowan hospice ipu floor plan

Source: McGinlay Bell

Ardgowan Hospice, Greenock, by McGinlay Bell (plan)

Architect’s view

In terms of materiality the project considers the use of blonde stone and light-coloured brick for the external skin of the building which aims to reinforce the buildings connection to its surroundings. The material attitude to brick as the dominant material has been carefully considered providing a sense of coherence and a feeling of longevity. Equally the proposal offers a physical and psychological connection back to the existing nearby historic brick built hospice building.

The fundamental underlying principles of the design at every stage has centred around patient care.The In Patient Care Unit (IPU) has been positioned on the top floor to provide maximum privacy, daylight and views out for the patients. The organisational principle is proposed for 8-single bed patient rooms arranged in two clusters of four focused around a hierarchy of public to private spaces.

The proposals are searching for an appropriate urban character forming a continuation of the ‘street block’.The continuation of the urban block façades was considered important to the scheme. The building is of a height that is consistent with both of its neighbours while developing its own sculptural language.

While the main elevation of the building on Ardgowan Street offers a rhythm and quiet solidity in keeping with the surrounding tenement blocks, the composition of the gable on Nelson Street provides a sculpted familiar permanence that brings a quality of protection and comfort to the atmosphere of the building. It is intended and indeed hoped that a level of continuity and inheritance from context can be recognised in this architectural language and the new building is read as a valuable piece of townscape, belonging to and part of Greenock.

Project data

Location Greenock, Scotland
Type of project Healthcare
Client Ardgowan Hospice
Architect McGinlay Bell
Quantity Surveyor Campbell Martin Associates
Contract duration 12 months
Gross internal floor area 1800m²
Form of contract and/or procurement Design & Build




Readers' comments (2)

  • It's all very well talking of 'a physical and psychological connection back to the existing nearby historic brick built hospice building' but does this justify the creation of quite such a monolithic piece of architecture, in this day and age of more human-scale and welcoming facilities?

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  • Well done McGinlay Bell - looks great.

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