OLD SEE HOUSE, BELFAST

 

05. Main Pedestrian entrance with pedestrian priority over the visitor parking area 01. Consultation courtyards materiality

OLD SEE HOUSE, COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY

BELFAST CO. ANTRIM
AECOM IRELAND


AECOM provided full landscape architectural services for Old See House which began with initial landscape analysis and feasibility work through to design and consultation end users and coordination with the Landscape contractor on site. The landscape design had a varied function to deliver from ecological and woodland garden on the external faces under the mature trees to more contemporary garden spaces in the courtyards through to the active allotment space.
The brief centered on creating a facility unlike the traditional mental health facilities yet capable of humanely meeting the complex operational requirements.
With the scale of both building and courtyard sensitively corresponding with the surrounding context the courtyard ensures natural light is provided to all parts of the main building. The design of the central courtyard garden provides an inviting and calming space with clear visual connection between the water feature and reception / waiting areas ensuring a sense of calm extends inside through visual rhythm and subtle noise.

The inner courtyards are simple spaces created using a limited palette of materials such as water worn pebbles, sculpted rock, and ground cover planting. They offer a private visual connection to an external space for each consultation room, with the aim of providing a contemplative therapy experience.

The horticulture garden to the rear of the site offers the opportunity for residents of the facility to interact with nature, with physical exercise gained through working the garden, growing vegetables and herbs. The added value of this space is in its ability to increase social interaction among residents and reduce isolation and stress, one of the five key principles of the Landscape Institute’s position statement on creating healthy places.