Cowan Architects offers care providers future-proof designs

pickering house

Cowan Architects provides architectural design to maximise care providers’ extension potential whilst using the latest designs to enhance resident well-being.

Pickering House, Dorking

At Pickering House, the flagship care home for the Journalists’ Charity, Cowan Architects has used a high walled, cylindrical atrium entrance area which also houses the residents’ sitting and dining area.

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Positioned in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with spectacular gardens, the large windows bring the outside into the residents throughout the day and they also enjoy views from their bedrooms. Pickering House was never intended to be a truly commercial enterprise, odering exceptional care and well-being standards of nursing and personal attention to a modest 20 residents.

Director, David Ilott said: “As Pickering House was originally designed to cater for a small number of residents, the accommodation was made very
generous. But ten years on, we’re now having to consider doubling resident numbers.”

Put simply, the charity’s money needs to work as hard as possible for the people it serves. “Our footprint is heavily constrained, not least because of the AONB in which our home sits,” said David.

“We’ve relied on the experience of our architects to bring a commercial understanding to the design requirements in order to make the most of the
property.” To achieve this, the architects needed to reassess the design parameters and cleverly re-organise the space of the operational and administrative areas in order to create the new bedrooms, whilst maintaining the positive, engaged experience for residents.

Ifield Park, Crawley

Starting with the clean sheet of a newbuild is one thing, but making the most of the building’s design and layout becomes much more of a challenge for older establishments that may have been growing organically over the decades.

For Ifield Park’s campus style layout, Cowan created a master plan of continuous improvement to implement changes in a phased series of expansion
and enhancements.

“It’s all about future proofing” said Jo Stovold, Ifield Park’s chief executive. “We’re extending and altering the existing nursing care and dementia
care facilities at three locations but the growth here in the past has been organic so we’ve had to accommodate some strange building orientation with a bit of clever re-thinking of the layout. The new design will create a richer experience for our residents and allow us to bring much more to the party.”

Ifield Park oders a spectrum of facilities but the new design focuses on areas where there is a real need and demand within the local community. This includes a new five-bed respite care facility and the demolition of a redundant star accommodation building for the construction of a new ten-bed EMI (elderly mentally infirm) care facility.

“These increases in room capacity also give potential residents and their families a chance to get to know us and experience the quality of care that they would receive should they decide to stay,” said Jo.

Dementia patients need a secure environment but this does not mean that they can’t enjoy outside space too. At Ifield Park, Cowan has designed a circular route which runs through a courtyard where everyone can enjoy the benches for ‘stop and stare’ time.

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