What We Did
The Cambian Churchill hospital is the largest specialist mental health rehabilitation hospital in London, located in the city centre, opposite the Imperial War Museum and a few minutes’ walk from Waterloo mainline station. The development provides 53 ensuite rooms laid out over 3 individual floors with 3 further floors of ancillary space. Each floor includes a communal lounge, television room and utility/laundry space. There is also a shared therapy piazza incorporating activity rooms, living skills kitchen, music room, internet cafe, dining area, hairdresser, gymnasium, shop, communal lounges and therapy garden.
The hospital provides specialist locked mental health rehabilitation services for men aged 18 years and over. Typically patients have been sectioned under sections 3, 37 or 37/41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and have a primary diagnosis of mental illness. Some patients may also have dual diagnosis and complex needs for example, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar affective disorder or depression. As designers we were determined to overcome the site challenges and create an amazing aspirational space in the centre of the capital somewhere that would be both beautiful for patients to stay, and also for their families to visit.
Originally constructed in the 1930s, the building looked more like a 1970s development. Six floors tall, surrounded entirely by concrete and with ‘rabbit hutch’ style corridors that all looked alike, the old building was very much an old-fashioned, under-invested mental health facility. Not an easy site on which to create the sense of tranquillity which Cambian expects from its schemes. A huge amount of work was needed to bring the development up to aspirational standards and all within a highly confined space. Formerly a 70-bed facility, one of the team’s core objectives was to reduce bed numbers and increase therapy and activity space within the development. Part of the Cambian Group ethos is about making the environments spacious and fit for optimal rehabilitation conditions; the guiding principle is for things to look beautiful and create an aesthetic that motivates and inspires people.
Functionality and regulation are important, but that’s not everything; going the extra mile to create a vibrant, beautiful place to stay makes people feel better. And by creating a shift and sense of wellbeing, clinical colleagues can have a head start in helping patients to improve their lives.
I've thoroughly enjoyed working with you and the Gilling Dod team and I wish you every success for the future. You've done a great job with moving our interiors along to the next level and this makes our product that much more impressive.
~ Nick Bodie, Property Advisor
At it’s core Interior Design is about Human reactions to built environments. Mental Health conditions can create polarised and exaggerated responses to inhabited spaces and as such it can be seen how critical Interior Design is to creating environments of refuge recovery and wellbeing.
This project had the added challenged of built constraints being a refurbishment scheme but this, if anything, made the results even more impressive. Functionality, safety and clinical requirements were addressed but by pushing the envelope in design terms we were able to also create a vibrant and beautiful place for people to stay, visit and feel better in. Our ethos is about making environments light, spacious and fit for optimal rehabilitation. Stimulation, reassuring, calming, uplifting and restful. The grounding principle was to create an aesthetic that motivates and inspires service users and give maximum positive impact to their experience and care. The results were spectacular and a source of pride to all involved.
~ Louise Leahey, Senior Interior Designer