London North West Healthcare NHS Trust appointed ACA to design a feasibility study for the refurbishment of Northwick Park Hospital retail area. The substantial renovation creates a healthier environment and a much more enjoyable experience for patients, visitors and staff.
This space is conveniently called The Square for both its shape and important role in Northwick Park Hospital. That is, alike to a small town’s central square, this is the place where people meet and relax.
ACA’s design team’s has vast experience in designing therapeutic and dementia-friendly environments. So, we re-designed The Square to bring new light and life to it.
In fact, The Square will effectively provide a “winter garden experience” and will be an orientation landmark defining a meeting point at the heart of Northwick Park Hospital.
Design concept and Biophilia
The design concept aims to bring nature at the heart of the commercial area, rekindling the relation between Northwick Park and Northwick Park Hospital.
So, biophilic design choices, sound absorbing surfaces and materials, natural daylight and increased natural ventilation are the main elements of the project.
Indeed, the aim of the project is to create a healthier environment and more enjoyable experience for patients, visitors and staff.
Above all, we gave the interior design a fresh approach considering dementia friendly and inclusive design principles. Also, we designed a new roof to provide more natural light and views of the sky. Therefore, a new glass dome will ‘open up’ views to the sky above. The dome consists of a laminated veneer lumber structure glazed with triangular shaped glass panels held in place by edge clamps.
Furthermore, we will ‘open up’ the view from the crowded corridor by demolishing the existing walls and introducing room dividers with plants on both sides.
Also, we designed a timber cladded fascia at the base of the dome, with sound absorbing panels and artificial plants.
The curved wall at the entrance will be cladded with tambour panels, and the new vinyl flooring will have oak tones.
Such design choices will create a biophilic hub which will help patients, staff and visitors to reconnect with nature.
Hence The Square, much like the piazza of an Italian village, provides a central space for people to enjoy a coffee, get a haircut, buy a memento or relax in the garden area.
Unsurprisingly, restrictions due to Covid-19 have inevitably changed the way this space is used. So, the outdoor space has gained a more important role for staff and patients’ wellbeing.
However, the garden area is not that big, but with the right design even a small space can make a big impact on the wellbeing of the users.
Primarily, the use of different paving and furniture defines the threshold and structures the open space activities. For instance, there is space to have a coffee seated at the tables under a parasol. Furthermore, curved timber benches offers a relaxing seating arrangement under wooden pergolas with climbing plants. So, the aim of this garden is to engage one’s senses and enhance patients and visitors’ experiences.
Importantly, we have designed all areas to be fully accessible for able bodied and wheelchair users.
Working with an existing space, currently used by many people every day, is always a challenge. However, ACA’s design will create an environment which provides a friendly and comfortable experience for all.
The Square Refurbishment, Northwick Park Hospital
Our organisation is one of the largest acute NHS Trusts in the country. It has a catchment area covering three boroughs in North West London. We have engaged ACA on a number of our larger scale projects to date. ACA has always been able to deliver our vision, both bespoke and demanding, accurately and within agreed timescales.”