Bamburgh Clinic, St Nicholas Hospital, Newcastle

Bamburgh Clinic, St Nicholas Hospital, Newcastle

Provided by MAAP Architects  

The Bamburgh Clinic is the first of five high profile national pilot schemes initiated by the Department of Health and used as a sustainability good practice exemplar by NHS Shine.

The Bamburgh Clinic

The Bamburgh Clinic, modern and welcoming without visible secure barriers. ©Nick Gutteridge Photography.

Architect: MAAP Architects 
Address of project: St Nicholas Hospital, Jubilee Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 3XT

Construction Cost: £16m

Year of Completion: 2006

Client: Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Quantity Surveyor: Summers Inman

Structural Engineer: Arup

Services Engineer: Cad21

Main Contractor: Laing O’Rourke






The design problem


The Bamburgh Clinic, modern and welcoming without visible secure barriers. ©Nick Gutteridge Photography.

The Trust wanted a new modern mental health facility to replace some of the existing Victorian buildings and provide a therapeutic, safe environment for patients. The approach to the briefing and design of the new development ensured that the strong principles of care were adopted and adhered to in the completed build and its surrounding environment. The Bamburgh Clinic was delivered under the NHS Procure 21 programme, provides 41 secure adult mental health forensic beds with shared therapy, offices and support facilities.












The site

The scheme was developed on a brownfield site, previously a fish factory, adjacent to St Nicholas Psychiatric Hospital. The site is bound to the west by a mature natural landscape and to the north by an existing avenue of trees and sandstone wall as a buffer to residential housing. The scheme features a well-developed external landscaping to complement the existing mature trees and nearby nature reserve.

Most timber was sourced locally and renewable, low maintenance materials were used for prefabricated panelised timber frame system, hardwood windows, cedar cladding, large timber sections for benches and tables in the courtyards.


The architectural response

The building is designed to achieve long term sustainability through high standards of energy efficiency and the use of low maintenance or recyclable materials. The building is highly insulated but maximises day-lighting and natural ventilation where possible.

Part of the vision for a therapeutic environment was to provide a non-stigmatising environment, for example by enabling the necessary observation to be inherent in the design, providing good daylighting and views and avoiding the use of high fences, and providing access to secure outdoor space.



Courtyards with robust landscaping help create attractive safe social amenity space. ©Nick Gutteridge Photography.


One of four courtyards offers safe occupation for residents with minimal supervision. ©Nick Gutteridge Photography.


The building


Spacious ward circulation with window seats, daylight and views to courtyards. ©Nick Gutteridge Photography.

Open-sided barn

The open-sided sports barn forms one side of the courtyard facing the reception area, providing an easily supervisable facility and high site boundary to the wildlife centre. ©Nick Gutteridge Photography.



Design strategies

  • Timber: A timber frame construction was selected to provide a robust structure that can resist jarring if banged or mistreated by patients, has good energy efficiency and acoustic insulation, enabled recessed fittings for easy servicing, and provided a quick delivery and dry construction.
  • Landscape design: urban: Landscape design and safe external space play an important part in the therapeutic programme. The scheme features a well-developed external landscaping to complement the existing mature trees and nearby nature reserve.
  • Light: Sun pipes have been installed in the deep plan areas to increase daylighting. In the communal areas in the wards, there is movement sensitive lighting to reduce electricity consumption and assist with observation.
  • Transport: In conjunction with the local council there are draft green travel plans. The main Hospital site is a conservation area and car parking areas are limited in and around the site. Staff are encouraged to cycle to work and a large canopy at the main entrance provides shelter for bike stands.
  • Site planning: Designed for future extension and flexibility. There is room on the site for a further wing, and internally there is some flexibility on the number of bedrooms in each unit.

Lessons learnt

In many instances the security requirements, and the desire for innovation, led to sustainable solutions: movement sensitive lighting, time controlled water in showers and toilets, use of sunpipes.

Direct communication and collaboration between users and designers at an early stage through the facilitation workshops was very beneficial.

All maintenance can be carried out without entering patient areas.

The four-day trial by the project staff emphasised that there is a need to think very differently about healthy lifestyles.

Take this further

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TimberUrban landscape design, Transport, Site planning