Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

One of the most coveted sites in Glasgow now boasts one of its most innovative buildings with completion of a new palliative care centre by the Prince and Princess of Wales hospice. Urban Realm checked in with Alastair Forbes, architectural director at Ryder, and Rolf Roscher, director at ERZ Studio, to see how hospice responds to a sensitive setting and complex brief to deliver choice and dignity to patients.

The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice has marked a milestone moment with the fulfillment of a long-held ambition to migrate to a purpose-built care hub in the grounds of Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. The Arnold Clark Building marks the culmination of a mammoth eight year £21m fundraising drive to deliver accommodation for 1,200 patients and their families within a parkland setting gifted by Glasgow City Council.

Keith Hunter Photography
Keith Hunter Photography

Belying its size the hospice partially burrows into the hillside to manage the scale of four interlinked ‘villas’ within the wider landscape by reading as a three storey structure from one side only. In doing so the hospice has left behind its historic home at Carlton Place in the city centre, but its front door hasn’t yet been slammed shut. Instead it has been transported to Bellahouston Park to serve as an extension of the hospices roots.

Keith Hunter Photography
Keith Hunter Photography

Ryder Architecture and ERZ formed the core of the design team the building and grounds cater for patients as young as 16, providing palliative care and a supportive environment for them and their families, a brief which presented a number of challenges not least how to accommodate civic healthcare services within a domestic-style building. Fortunately, project architect Alastair Forbes, architectural director at Ryder Architecture, was on hand to reveal all, saying: “The building takes the form of a series of cottages which sit under idiosyncratic roofs but when you analyse the cross section it’s a house within a house. What that does is create a stepped edge which is essentially a veranda. No matter how cold it is patients will want to be outside on the veranda a lot of the time wrapped in blankets.

“There’s a 12m rise from Dumbreck Road to the top of the site so it’s very much a building designed in section. What we did was a back of house wing which digs into the hillside and contains all the heavy lifting services which are not seen. That allows the front four villas to be far more domestic in scale. No matter where you are you can always get an outside view and we use the roof space for office accommodation. You should never be able to see the full building in its entirety from any one point, it should reveal itself as you move around.”

Read more: Urban Realm

Chris Swan Photography
Chris Swan Photography