National healthcare design commendation for Newcastle architects

JDDK project took eight years to unfold and has resulted in a highly commended award.

The refurbished St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh, which was redesigned by architects JDDK (Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall)
The refurbished St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh, which was redesigned by architects JDDK (Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall)

A Newcastle architecture practice has been highly commended for its involvement in the £26m transformation of a hospice.

Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall (JDDK) Ltd was highly commended at the prestigious Building Better Healthcare Awards for the multi-million pound rebuild project of St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh.

The firm worked on the project, which opened in May, for eight years, and had to make sure the finished results displayed exemplary healthcare design.

Centered around two Grade B listed buildings in a conservation area overlooking the Firth of Forth, the care facilities dating from the 1970s have now been replaced with an exceptional 30-bed hospice care facility.

At the Building Better Healthcare Awards, the facility was heralded as a fine example of progressive vision in the UK hospice sector, and of design in a highly sensitive setting.

The project began with conversations between JDDK director Ian Clarke and the hospice back in 2006, to firm up a design brief which would take in not only the client requirements but also the site’s unique characteristics.

Mr Clarke said: “The existing hospice was centred around a listed neoclassical house in its own grounds, within the Trinity conservation area in northern Edinburgh. The listed house had been much extended in the past, notably with the construction of a large in-patient wing about 30 years ago.

“The pace of development in palliative care services has meant that the existing facilities were simply no longer suitable for current or anticipated future needs.”

The design had to provide facilities suitable for the coming decades, and also keep to the stringent requirements of Historic Scotland and Edinburgh City Council in relation to the listed building, its setting, and the conservation area. Planning permission was finally gained in 2009.”

The firm’s design used natural materials, both internally and externally, and landscaped areas, to create a therapeutic, diverse and holistic environment for care.

Sustainable features include the use of natural ventilation and lighting, solar shading, keeping existing trees and the addition of green roofs, rainwater harvesting and plans for the installation of biomass heating.

Alison Allan, project lead at St Columba Hospice, added: “The accolades from our patients and families using the building is the real testament to a design that has created the right environment, supporting the work we do. JDDK’s mark on the Edinburgh east coast is quite simply outstanding.”

The provision of palliative care facilities is becoming a speciality of JDDK with recent projects including St Oswald’s in Newcastle, St Gemma’s in Leeds, Marie Curie hospices in Glasgow and Solihull, Thorpe Hall in Peterborough for Sue Ryder Care and Marymount Hospice in Cork.

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