Nov 22, 2017 Last Updated 2:18 PM, Nov 16, 2017

Fieger louvre windows have been installed at Northern Ireland’s award-winning care centre

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Replacing three existing trust-owned facilities, the brand-new multi-award-winning Banbridge Health and Care & Day Care Centre, Northern Ireland, specialises in health and social care in a high-quality, aesthetically-pleasing establishment.

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Banbridge Health and Care & Day Care Centre’s predecessor, the old Banbridge Hospital and Workhouse, was no longer fit for purpose and the Southern Health and Social Care Trust called upon architect practice Kennedy FitzGerald, in association with Avanti Architects, to transform the existing site.

Both Kennedy FitzGerald and Avanti Architects faced a challenging brief which required the new centre to provide facilities for community outpatients clinics, day care accommodation for adults with disabilities and administrative offices for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, all under one roof.

Enabling works were required to clear the site of the existing buildings and contamination. Significant level changes across the site were viewed as an exciting opportunity to realise the brief by stepping the accommodation.

The building provides accommodation for community outpatient treatment, activity and therapy spaces for adult day care and is an administrative centre for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. This project brings these functions together onto one site in an innovative way, delivering efficiencies by sharing accommodation between services and reducing travel distances.

Upper and lower levels of the building each have a central landscaped courtyard. Community treatment facilities and trust offices are located on the upper tier, closer to the town, with adult day care on the lower, more secluded, tier. High-quality landscaping throughout enhances the site with the higher level overlooking a green roof to the lower tier. The complex serves the needs of the town of Banbridge and the wider community of 48,000 people in County Down.

A relaxing environment

Planting and sculptures provide stimulus as well as reference points to help orientate users when circulating around the building. The integrated art strategy plays an important role in lifting the quality of the internal and external spaces, increasing legibility, wayfinding and creating a welcoming and therapeutic environment.

A lawn roof above the day care accommodation allows the building to merge with the landscape and provides an attractive outlook for those working at upper levels. It also contributes to a site-wide upgrade to the ecological profile of the development. The design solution sought to maximise natural light in internal areas and provide patients with views out to the landscaping. The preferred design solution uses the atrium and stepped courtyard as a heart to the building and establishes visual connections to the landscape beyond.

Circulation spaces benefit from frequent breakout and seating areas with views to the courtyard.

Maximising natural light

94 Fieger louvre windows installed at the Banbridge Health and Care & Day Care Centre have allowed natural light and ventilation to permeate the building and provide visual connection with the courtyards and gardens.

Giving good levels of natural light, the Fieger louvre windows ensure high visibility, creating a strong connection between interior and exterior. Though allowing ventilation, the windows also promote energy conservation. Being double-glazed units, they achieve a U-value of 2.1 to 2.3 W/m²K and have a certified air infiltration rate of 0.4 m³/hour/m² so that heat is conserved during winter months.

The ventilated louvres use Cool-Lite SKN165 glazing from Saint-Gobain, delivering a 65% reduction in solar heat gain. Electrical actuation of the louvres, by compact D&H linear motors, built unobtrusively into the side frames, is operated under the control of the building management system for automated comfort setting. Motors have anti-trap protection to reverse movement if resistance is sensed on closure. The aluminium framed louvre units are incorporated within the curtain wall structure and have a matching finish.

The building has been recognised by RIBA with national and regional awards for its innovative design that engages with the surrounding landscape.

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