Pitlochry Community Hospital

Christopher Palmer Associates were appointed as Landscape Architects for Pitlochry Community Hospital. The hospital is the new home for Pitlochry Irvine Memorial Hospital and the Pitlochry Medical Centre.

Included in the complex are general nursing wards, dementia wards, the general practice medical centre and a separate private residential care home.

We form just part of a Client & Design Team for the project which includes the Client Group, Medical Centres Scotland
and NHS Tayside, Project Managers Knight Frank, Architects Campbell & Arnott, Main Contractor Stewart Milne, Structural Engineers Wrenn & Bell, Mechanical & Electrical Engineers Harley Haddow and Quantity Surveyors McLeod & Aitken.

Our role of landscape architects has included a survey of the existing features, including a survey of existing oak woodland, sketch design, budget costing, agreement of costs, design development to production of Billing and Tender Drawings.

The site breaks down into a number of different areas with different functions and values.

These are:

1. The outlying areas not immediately affected by the building, but which nevertheless contribute to the setting and
feel of the site.
These include existing wooded knolls and a woodland envelope surrounding the new buildings. These areas needed to be protected during the works and considered in the long-term management and maintenance of the site. A preliminary tree works contract was let to remove poor specimens, dense understorey, deadwood and unsafe branches etc.

2. The main public access and frontage areas, which include the vehicle and pedestrian access points, car parking, main building frontages and arrival/entrance points.

These areas are in the public domain help create the feel of the hospital as much as the scale and mass of the buildings and palette of building materials used.

3. The private areas of ward gardens.

These include a dedicated garden for the dementia unit and a garden for the general wards.
Both of these lie on the south side of the building and it is these gardens where there is the most intensive design has taken place.

It is well known that environment is a key factor in health and wellbeing and the restorative process. In a hospital environment as anywhere this includes both the indoor and outdoor spaces and involves all of the senses; sight, sound, touch, memory and imagination.

The ward gardens in particular are seen as an integral part of the treatment of patients, particularly for longer stay patients and perhaps nowhere more so than in the area of dementia care.

The ward gardens exploit the opportunity of southerly aspect and shelter from the wooded knolls with their great old oak trees creating some special spaces with dappled sunlight and shade. Large terrace areas have been created to allow beds to be wheeled into the gardens in good weather.

In the development of the garden designs we have drawn on the work carried out by landscape architect Annie Pollock and gardener Rosalind Hume for the Dementia Services Development Centre

The following are some of the aspects thought about in the preparation of the design:

Safe, enclosed and secure gardens.

Barrier free access from the buildings.

Gradients no steeper than 1:20.

Level hard surfaced patios linking directly with the building.

Level paths leading around the garden that in the dementia garden return the user to the beginning.

Paths wide enough for wheelchairs whilst allowing someone to pass.

Resting areas around the garden as well as areas where gentle activities can be undertaken.

Limited views out of the garden, with fencing generally screened by attractive planting.

Views over the garden from the building, allowing staff to supervise activities from within if necessary.

Privacy for bedrooms, whilst seeking to retain views over the garden.

As part of our remit, we carried out an audit of the closing Irvine Memorial Hospital gardens to see what materials; plants, site furniture, benches, pots, tubs, bird tables, potting shed and summer house etc could be moved to the new hospital.

We worked closely with the voluntary Friends of Pitlochry Hospital and a local landscape contractor to realise this.