Health \ Ballycopeland Residential Dementia Care, County Down, Northern Ireland

Our colleagues in Belfast, RPP Architects, invited us to take the design lead in a limited competition for a 64 bed dementia home to be constructed at a site on the County Down coast on the site of a former childrens’ home.

The site sits surrounded by farmland on a raised beach above the coast with extensive views of the sea to the east.  The brief asked for the 64 beds to be divided into eight groups of eight and our proposal was unusual in suggesting a single storey design where each of the groupings of eight bedrooms is organised as a quasi-house.   The plan of each house is triangular with the bedrooms on two sides and the central space being a continual living/dining space opening onto a terrace. In this way residents immediately become part of a family grouping when they leave their own room. 

The eight “houses” are then arranged in a star-shaped plan which allows all the residents to look out from their bedrooms to a wider landscape and at the same time avoids any privacy intrusions.  Pairs of houses are then linked with common facilities and to allow the staff to move between the two.  At the heart of the “star” is a communal facilities building consisting of a large café, social space, offices, kitchen, laundry, cinema, hairdressing and other facilities.  Four routes radiate out from these spaces to link with the eight houses and in the process create three walled gardens.  

Architects Richard Murphy, RPP Architects
From Richard Murphy Architects Richard Murphy, Daryl Robbins
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