The concept of shelter means something different to everyone. It can conjure up images of different places, home or a fireside. The physical form can vary, yet at its heart it is the feeling of a place of security, of wellbeing, of peacefulness.
Just as our senses of sight, hearing and touch respond to a place, it is the surface of our body that experiences a place or shelter, creating a space that enables healing, which assists caring and provides support. It is the central task of the architect and the focus of this design to imagine such a place.
The location in Bellahouston Park ensures all our senses contribute to enhancing patient care, including sunlight, warmth and the landscape, which will support the functions of the building, creating a feeling of home.
The site for the new build, at the edge of Glasgow’s foremost park, is set against a backdrop of historically significant traditional villas and arts and crafts cottages.
The form of this massing is derived from Alexander "Greek" Thomson’s Double Villa, which is located near the site.
The geometry and overlapping of the villa's arrangement create a central, top-lit space that is a focal point for The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospic's art room and public space.
At the heart of each villa is a social space which provides natural opportunities for informal meetings, conversations and quiet reflection.
The protective nature of the building is realised in a veranda that runs around the whole building, providing a transition zone between the interior spaces and the surrounding landscape.
This is an integral domestic scaled space for patient use.
Outside, surrounding the new building, are terraces and alcoves for private space or discussion.
Whether windowed, screened, or open air, the veranda will be a comforting mediating space between the formality of a consulting room or bedroom. The outdoors will play an integral part of the hospice design.
This will be a place to linger, a place to pause, a place to savour a cherished view of the grounds.
Natural slate will be used as the external skin of the building, reinforcing the protective nature of it. Even in winter this slate warms in the sun and the body responds to that warmth. Internally, timber linings will be used to create warmth and an aura of thoughtful, concentrated spaces. The softness of the timber again embodies warmth.
A hospice for Glasgow had been a dream of Dr Anne Gilmore OBE who, with a lot of help and support, brought a permanent place of respite to the city back in the 1980s.
As we make plans to move to the new building, her dream of a space housing excellent end-of-life care is once again coming to fruition.
Anne once said of a hospice:
“The aim at all times is to enhance the quality of life.
"It is separate from mainstream medicine.
“The building itself is part of the therapy.
‘We wanted to avoid a white, clinical, institutional place, and instead create a friendly, informal environment, where people can feel relaxed and comfortable, so promoting a certain ambience and joy.”
In the new building, which has started construction, we will achieve this.
Glasgow’s Hospice will be a special piece of architecture which will feel comfortably like home, be humble, dignified, unobtrusive, and private when required.
Thank you to the people of Glasgow for your support and for continuing on the legacy of Dr Anne Gilmore by helping us to create a beautiful building befitting this great city of ours.
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