Health \ Old See House Mental Health Facility, Belfast

Old See House is a pathfinder for the modernisation of mental health care in Belfast promoting the model of decentralised community based services as set out in the recent “Transforming Your Care” policy document. This is the first building resulting from the successful inclusion of our practice with partners RPP architects of Belfast onto the Northern Ireland NHS (PCCI) framework. Together we have been designated as the architects for the Belfast HSC Trust and this is our first project in that framework(PCCI).

An innovative approach was required at Old See House to ensure the realisation of a low energy public building within a conservation area, that balanced the need for modern healthcare systems with whole life costs and sustainability.  

The building is a mental health facility which brings together three functions never before co-located. These firstly are a consulting facility where out patients have appointments to see psychiatric consultants very much in the manner of seeing a GP. Secondly is a day centre where patients are encouraged to attend for a whole or half day and to engage in various forms of therapy. And finally is an eight bedroom short-stay residential section, designed to be an alternative to residence within an acute hospital where patients might go for a night or maybe up to two weeks respite. The site is located on the Antrim Road, North Belfast where the Trust currently manages an out-patients and residential hotel accommodation facility there is currently a 1960's nurses' home. This building will be demolished in its entirety. The site is fortunate in being surrounded by mature trees.

The plan shows a U shaped design around a private patient orientated courtyard garden. Entrance is in the centre, one wing is for consulting for outpatients the other for day patients. Consultants' rooms are clustered around small walled gardens with all the circulation and waiting areas open to the main garden. The residential section has its own entrance and presence on the site, akin to a gatehouse. It is designed as much as possible to be an ordinary two storey house but with a double height living area around which all the main spaces gravitate. A service section connects the main building to the residential section but there is deliberately no internal patient access between the two parts of the building. Office accommodation for outreach staff on the first floor of the main building completes the design.

Building work commenced on site mid 2012 and was completed mid 2014.

This project won a RIBA Award in 2015.

Architects Richard Murphy, Tersius Maass, Piotr Kmiotczyk
Co-Architects RPP Architects
Engineers Aecom Belfast
M&E Engineers Williams and Shaw
BREEAM Aecom Manchester
Quantity Surveyor Sammon Surveyors
Landscape Architect Aecom / EDAW Belfast
Health & Safety JCP Consulting
Construction Cost £5.2m
Client The Northern Ireland Health Executive


2014 Building Better Healthcare Awards
2015 RIBA Award
2016 Architects for Health European Healthcare Design Awards - Best Mental Health Building


12 March 2013 21 Years, 21 Awards Construction Magazine
18 March 2010 Bd Reviews Online: A Round Up Of The Latest Healthcare Projects,
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