The Northern Health and Social Care Trust recently instigated a programme of improvements to its facilities that included a major review of the amenity value of the external areas, access and general open spaces aside the emergency department at Antrim Area Hospital. This was partially stimulated by the Emergency Department extending over time and its consequent layout not facilitating effective flow of patients, staff or visitors.
Todd Architects, who designed the building, appointed Park Hood as landscape architects to design and oversee the
contract management of the external works package. The key objective was to provide an easily readable landscape clearly signposting main access arrival areas for pedestrian or vehicle and promote the best possible experience for patients and staff. The designs had to also take into account cost-effectiveness, longevity of materials, environmental issues, aesthetics and future maintenance and management of these areas. The solution was largely to opt for a predominantly hard landscape including resin bond surfaces, granite, natural and man-made stone paving softened by peripheral shrub and tree planting providing a very easy landscape to maintain and keep clear or clean. The granite and natural paving gives a surfacing treatment that is robust in terms of life-cycle insofar that it is able to withstand the likely footfall and use for decades as well as being produced from a company where matching replacement paving (due to any unforeseen works) are readily available. The pedestrian link between the car park and the main entrance is constructed in a distinct paving, clearly different to the neighbouring areas and aligned with matching lighting to assist in wayfinding.
The contemporary design reflects the architecture of the main building with waved paving pattern, steel bike shelters, light columns and bespoke concrete seats providing a strong balance in terms of appearance, form and style that collectively contribute to a distinct sense of place.