Medical Architecture builds Kimmeridge Court specialist facility
Medical Architecture designs Kimmeridge Court, a uniquely private and therapeutic environment for the treatment of patients with eating disorders sited in a protected wooded glade in the UK. The specialist facility has been carefully crafted to preserve the quality of its natural setting. Eating disorders are responsible for more loss of life than any other mental health condition and are becoming increasingly common. Treatment for eating disorders can be difficult, with patients often reluctant to receive effective care. Through close consultation with clinical staff, the facilities have been designed to enable patients to re-establish a positive relationship with food and exercise. The sensitive project ensures a special environment that enables staff observation whilst protecting the privacy and dignity of patients.
irrigated root-protecting foundation lifts the building above the roots of the trees | all images by Richard Chivers
a special healthcare unit that respects the sensitive site
The building is located within the grounds of the Grade II* Listed, St Ann’s Hospital on the Dorset coast. Respecting the character of the surrounding area, the design team develops a structure that presents a low impact on the mature coastal trees that occupy the site due to its size and positioning. The larger two-story volume is set back from the site boundary, reducing in scale to single-story as it approaches the street frontage. An irrigated root-protecting foundation design lifts the building above the roots of the large mature Category A trees, which enabled their retention remarkably close to the new building.
The building’s response to its natural context plays a vital role in the creation of a protective and non-clinical environment that supports recovery. The bedroom accommodation and the transparent patient day spaces offer views out to an accessible garden and the surrounding woodland, maximizing the therapeutic benefit. A large multi-functional activity space on the first floor provides spectacular views out across the tree canopy.
the building has been designed to take full advantage of the quality of its natural context
comfortable pleasant spaces support the treatment
An attractive Activities of Daily Living (ADL) kitchen area allows patients to practice meal preparation and cooking in an environment that mirrors everyday life. Group therapy spaces are immediately accessible from the dining space to enable workshops to take place in which feelings about eating are explored. Sliding doors allow these key shared spaces to be opened up to promote social connection, or separated for more private, focused activity. Patient bedrooms have been designed as comfortable spaces for relaxation. Bay windows provide a place to sit and enjoy the trees of the wooded glade, whilst allowing light deep into the room. Natural materials and neutral colors throughout the building’s interior complement the ever-present views of nature. Large areas of glazing and skylights provide natural light to key destination spaces in the building, reinforcing circadian rhythms and creating pleasant spaces to sit and rest.
the external landscaping around the building is permeable and designed to reduce surface runoff
brick and clay tiles cover the exterior
Externally, the design uses traditional materials found on the hospital site, such as brick and clay roof tiles, but details them in a contemporary manner, providing a modern and attractive setting for the treatment and care of vulnerable patients. The external landscaping around the building is permeable and designed to reduce surface runoff, retaining as much rainwater on the site as possible. This is to irrigate the existing and newly planted trees and shrubs, whilst mitigating any local flood risk at times of extremely high rainfall.
a private outdoor garden provides a therapeutic space