ACA outlined a high-quality, detailed design proposal for a new build modern Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) located at Tameside, Greater Manchester.
In effect, the design was for a 12-bed single gender PICU on behalf of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. A flexible design was essential to allow for changing clinical models and advancing medical technologies. The brief was to create a modern recovery-focused environment around people, to increase efficiency and stability.
The aim of the design was to address behavioral health conditions with the use of positive distractions appropriated within the physical environment.
Inclusive PICU Layout Design
ACA carefully considered the building layout as the most significant design feature due to its effect on all aspects of critical care services. Equally important was the division of the spaces to ensure privacy and dignity. Furthermore, ACA’s design focus supports the identity and autonomy of personal space. Moreover, spaces were assigned for staff to engage with residents and easy access to outdoor areas.
Choice of Materials
Abundant natural light and low noise levels were smartly achieved with the choice of impactful materials. This creates a pleasant environment and atmosphere to support the healing process of the patients. For this, ACA selected white architectural masonry and white render for texture and tactile properties. A biophilic green wall and a subtle composition of coloured block glazing add interest to the front entrance and courtyard elevations.
The selected colours were not only for symbolic purposes but were also inspired by the local context. For example, warm yellows to symbolise the opening of the mind, a pale orange to wake up residents’ inner potential and a vivid green to reduce tension and stress. ACA believes in creating an association of the physical environment to its natural surroundings. In addition, this creates a truly therapeutic environment which eventually aids improvements in mental health and overall well-being.
Similarly, local landmarks such as the Aston canal subtly influenced the interior colour scheme and theme for the art installations. Individualized art installations for each bedroom contributes to remembrance and memory to their wider surroundings. Also, this supports a strong sense of self and a sense of belonging.