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      Visualisation of the new building that will provide a new home to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Image by HLM Architects, the text is written in collaboration with essay editor for students from to best cover the topic.

      Currently under construction at Little France on the outskirts of the city of Edinburgh, this major new hospital building will be shared by two distinct acute services, the Department of Clinical Neuroscience (DCN) and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP). In addition, it will also include a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Department with its own unique needs.

      All three services have strong identities and proud histories. Maintaining the sense of individuality whilst ensuring efficient use of shared services is central to the design of the building. 

      There are common themes relevant to the building for both groups of patients:

      • each will have its own identity within an integrated clinical facility, providing appropriate, discrete environments for all patients, both children & young people and adult patients, each with their own clear visual, and spatial identity.
      • 60% of the 233 beds are ensuite rooms so providing privacy and supporting infection control.
      • the building will be spacious, light, colourful and comforting and not feel like an institution
      • patients will be at the centre of the new hospital and all processes within it
      • the building design supports families as they care for their children/young people and adults in their healing process
      • patient pathways for both patient groups are separate wherever possible
      • physical and mental health facilities are on the same site


      The building designers HLM Architects are working closely with Ginkgo and the projects teams to explore ways of enriching the patient experience which will be explored in future posts. 

      For more information on the new hospital building, please click here.

      David Galletly developing wall graphic illustrations at National Museum Scotland. Photo by Ginkgo


      There is a growing recognition of the value of an enriched environment helping to reduce stress and anxiety and this is placed at the heart of our programme.

      Significant national and international research began with Roger Ulrich and his study in the 1970s, View Through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery, demonstrating the positive impact of a considered hospital environment where art and design are integral to the building and to the experiences and health outcomes on staff, patients and families/carers.

      Below is a sample of extracts from published academic papers and government guidelines providing some overview.

      Scottish policy concerning healthcare environments:

      “Health buildings can often be the places in which we may feel at our most vulnerable, whether as a patient, relative or friend. The quality of the building environment that we experience can provide us with calming reassurance or, conversely, it can accentuate our feeling of stress and unease.

      Many factors can contribute to engendering a sense of ease, for instance: the first impression of the facility from the public realm, the entrance experience, the degree of natural light, brightness and airiness, colour and texture, an easily understood layout with clearly defined focal points, uncluttered signage and a clear distinction between the realms of public and private space, maintaining patient dignity.

      The quality of healthcare facilities along with other public buildings and places can be a significant factor in making communities successful.”

      From A Policy on Design Quality for NHS Scotland, 2010

      Qualitative research: End of life environments

      All quotations are from (Kennedy 1999; Forte et al 2004; NHS Estates 2005).

      “The environment should actively demonstrate respect for the bereaved and enable an ethos of support.”…… “It has been suggested that these dimensions of care [attention to the feel of spaces through designs and artwork and a reduction in the clinical] not only have an immediate impact but can also influence the subsequent bereavement process”

      Family experience: “We remember so clearly those last things… it makes a huge impact those last impressions they feature in your dreams….. It’s not just the parents but the brothers and sisters too. It has to be nice, not frightening”.

      Staff experience: “…. if you go down corridors and taking a family down to a viewing room, you would hurry them, you’d be embarrassed about where you are taking them to… whereas if it is pleasant you will relax a bit because you’re proud of what you are going down to, it will be a comfort and care continued from the wards. That makes a difference.”

      Quantitative Research:

      Rosalia Staricoff’s groundbreaking research “A Study of the Effects of Visual and Performing Arts in Health Care, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital” (2003) carried out at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, measured the effect of visual arts and music on patients and staff between 1999 and 2002. One set of findings recorded that the levels of cortisol a neuroendocrine hormone, used as an indicator of stress in patients waiting for their operation in Day Surgery were lower in the presence of visual arts throughout the day compared to the levels found in patients in the control group.

      “A statistical test was applied to establish a comparison between the responses of clinicians and nurses. The particular environment of this hospital eased their stress levels: clinicians 75%, nurses 60%, and contributed greatly towards a positive change in mood, in 88% of clinicians and 82% of nursing staff. For 96% of clinicians and 91% of nurses the integration of the arts into health care results in a very pleasant environment.”

      Over the next twelve months we will explore some of the areas of this research and how the commissioned Arts and Therapeutic Design programme can help contribute to reduced stress and an enhanced experience for patient users.



      Photo of Crafts Magazine article. Photo by Peter Marigold.

      Crafts Magazine, an international design journal, have featured the work of one of the project’s designers Peter Marigold.  Peter has been commissioned to create a cast glass reinforced concrete wall, known as the Spine Wall, which runs 188m through the hospital, including both outside areas and the main atrium space.

      The Spine Wall forms a unifying solid architectural feature that unifies inside and out and provides a key waymarking and orientation role. Skin textures from staff within each of the three services have been magnified to form three dimensional abstract panel forms.  These have been arranged to form a composition that sometimes can be viewed with a singular identity and sometimes as a fragmented pattern.

      Visualisation of Spine Wall proposal. Image by Peter Marigold.