National Forensic Mental Hospital, Portrane

Scott Tallon Walker Architects in association with Medical Architecture

This new hospital replaces the existing Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Dublin. Located on a 10-hectare woodland site north of Dublin City, the 25,000m2 campus will accommodate 170 high, medium and low secure beds.

Designed to provide a safe, secure and healing environment that contributes to patient`s recovery, buildings are strategically placed to optimise the existing topology, mature woodland setting and coastal views. High secure design guidelines require a minimum eaves height of 4.2m. To reduce the scale and allow the buildings appear a single storey, a dark coloured render band was introduced below the eaves. To reduce the mass of the roofs, pitches were kept low, hipped and overhangs utilized. The entrance is deliberately articulated in opposing architectural language to denote its administrative function. 130 of the beds and a Village Centre are laid out as a series of single storey pavilion buildings around a ‘Village Green’ with peaceful gardens for patient amenity and therapeutic activities. Intuitive wayfinding is achieved through a site-wide narrative of colour, art, and landscaping. At night illuminated coloured glazed entrances act as beacons in the woodland setting. Entrances to the in-patient buildings have direct views of a garden, creating a positive first impression. Generous full height glazing along corridors facilitates good observation, contemplative views to adjacent courtyard gardens and ample daylight into the building. Tall, wide spaces are created in central areas to provide a sense of calm. The interior features discrete integration of out-of-reach acoustic panels to reduce noise and resulting stress.