St Barnabas Hospice Wellbeing Centre, Boston

Client: St Barnabas Hospice
Services: Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Design

Year: 2020
Status: Complete
Project Type: Refurbishment
Projects Value: £0.5 million

St Barnabas Hospice appointed ACA for architecture, interior and landscape design services to design a Dementia-friendly wellbeing hub. Moreover, the hub will create an integrated healthcare environment for the community of Boston.

St Barnabas Hospice appointed ACA for architecture, interior and landscape design services to design  the St Barnabas Hospice Wellbeing Centre, a Dementia-friendly wellbeing hub.  Moreover, the St Barnabas Hospice Wellbeing Centre will create an integrated healthcare environment for the community of Boston.

The Brief – St Barnabas Hospice Wellbeing Centre

Firstly, the St Barnabas Hospice Wellbeing Centre will offer a relaxing, therapeutic environment to patients, carers, and their families.  Secondly, it will provide access to specialist clinical services whilst promoting a sense of wellbeing. Thirdly, the environment will support the patient from initial diagnosis by enabling them to manage symptoms and improve living conditions.

Furthermore, there is a requirement to improve ambulance access and increase the number of parking spaces.

ACA’s Design Solution

In fact, the proposed wellbeing hub is a refurbishment of an existing office building comprising:

  • a new main entrance extension
  • elevations and layout alterations and
  • an outdoor sensory garden to provide a fully-immersive experience.

Importantly, the proposed design focuses on patients’ needs providing a facility for Boston community.  Moreover the design is inspired by a local nature theme with several biophilic features.

The Challenge

So, the main challenge was to design an environment which provides a friendly and comfortable experience for all.  Yet the hub lies within an existing building originally designed for a different purpose. So, ACA’s design features include maximising natural light via:

  • altering the proportions of the existing openings
  • introducing sound-absorbing finishes and
  • biophilic design features to create a comfortable environment.

Particularly, ACA has a strong belief that such features can offer uplifting benefits to the human experience.

Layout Design

For instance, the internal layout enables patients to access several activities such as:

  • socialising whilst enjoying refreshments prepared on site
  • relaxing around the fireplace to share experiences
  • watching television
  • playing games
  • reading books
  • engaging in physical activities or
  • privately reflecting around the sensory garden.

In addition, at the heart of the hub, the kitchen provides a space for patients, visitors and staff to interact.  Also, they can prepare refreshments using fresh herbs grown within.

Biophilic and Dementia-Friendly Design

ACA enhanced the features of our Dementia-friendly design approach using therapeutic, healing benefits of a local nature theme. Also, we increased the number of windows and altered their proportions for a greater connection with the outdoor landscaped areas. As a result, the surrounding views and access to nature help patients feel connected with the seasonal change of the landscaped design.  In addition, we can maximise natural daylight.

Furthermore, restorative sky views, botanical wallpaper and soft furnishings support the nature theme within the main lounge.

Similarly, the waiting area creates a warm, welcoming atmosphere, with a living moss and bark wall.

Also, ACA’s approach to Dementia-friendly design included a careful selection of Light Reflectance Values (LRVs).  Hence colours, materials and fabrics achieve an effective contrast to support the independence of dementia patients.

Finally, ACA selected soft furnishings and sound-absorbing ceiling and floor finishes to reduce noise disruption, for a comfortable atmosphere.


ACA identified a different colour scheme for each of the main activity areas to support wayfinding. Also, we designed a bespoke signage including colour, braille, icons and pictograms to help identify each room.


Above all, our proposal facilitates access to a sensory garden designed to be a protective and homely space including areas for different activities. Therefore, the use of different paving and furniture defines the threshold and structures the open space activities.

Moreover, the sensory richness occurs courtesy of plants, artwork, water features, shaded pergolas and the use of tactile materials that engage one’s senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and sound.

In addition, the use of raised and colourful flower beds allows patients to actively engage with nature enhancing their experience of time spent at the centre. We have designed all areas to be fully accessible for able bodied & wheelchair users.

Ultimately, if you have a project in mind, please contact us for a free consultation.

“Above all, ACA listened carefully to what we wanted to achieve and captured it exactly in their designs. They created a vision for us and translated it into plain language through 3D visualisations and mood boards. The “natural” interior design theme works perfectly and is something we would like to carry through to future projects”.”

Nicky Ingall – Business Services Manager

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