The Approach to the building. Location, Landscape and Accessibility

By Toby Ingle, Associate Director, Corstorphine & Wright

There is more to the siting of a building than its address. The position of a building within its chosen location needs to balance a number of things, including how easy it is to get into the building, what the parking will be, which way the building will face, how private it can be made and of course its views - both of the building from outside and what it looks like outside from within.

Seacroft Hospital in Leeds is already a working hospital with specialist services and the new Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease will sit on this site. Whilst access is via one of the major Leeds transport roads, it’s actually a very green site, with many trees and green spaces and this is one of the main elements that the architects have been tasked with – creating a modern space that can be easily accessed and sit within the natural surroundings.

Read More: Rob Burrow Centre for MND Blog: Going beyond the brief

A group of MND staff talk in a small corridor next to an MND patient and clinical nurse sat talking together

The stakeholder sessions have been an important ideas-forming process and three important areas are;

Accessibility, Privacy and Orientation

The building should be easy to get into for all its users; patients, visitors, or staff. This is more than just car parking. The sorts of things we are discussing include easily identifiable main entrance, consideration of  all different levels of mobility and the maximum distance people should travel from vehicle to the front door.

Privacy – whilst the new centre will be a public building that serves the community, there is a balance to be struck between being publicly accessible and private. It will be located so that it is visible from the main entrance to Seacroft Hospital, but it also needs to provide a level of privacy for those entering or leaving.

Orientation – The way the building faces is a big consideration as this can improve access to good quality natural light and ensure consistent temperatures, even in summer. Whilst views of nature and green spaces are essential, it’s also important to access the movement of time, which might be the shifting pattern of sunlight and shadow throughout the day or people watching. This all adds enrichment to its users.

Read More: 7 Stories Behind the Scenes

What matters to me about the new building?

Ally Whelan, Highly specialist physiotherapist working as part of the Motor Neurone Disease team.

“The environment we as a team currently work in is uninviting, with poor seating, toileting, space and light. It can be uncomfortable for our patients to spend long periods of time in clinic and they are often keen to get back home. This limits the time they can spend with each of the team and may result in them not  fully achieving the solutions they need. 

“I'd love to have a place that is bright, comfortable and fully accessible for all my patients, so we can spend the time they really need to talk, reflect, laugh and cry when they need!” 

Claire Lang, Clinical Nurse specialist, patient Jonathan and his wife Louise at a session to announce the MND centre architects

Jonathan Griffiths, MND patient, who attends the stakeholder sessions with his wife Louise.

“The staff are absolutely amazing, but the state of the environment is quite depressing place to bring your family. For me, the most important thing is that the new centre is a safe, calm place to visit, which is purpose built with patients in mind.”

“MND is a terrible illness but the new centre will hopefully make it a little bit easier to come to clinics with my wife. By offering better facilities and a much nicer environment for staff, patients and loved ones.”  

Return to the Rob Burrow Centre for MND blog