The Respite Pavilion is an intriguing new structure, designed by Graeme Massie Architects, which sits in the grounds of the new Woodland View Community Hospital in Irvine, on the Ayrshire coast.
The Respite Pavilion was commissioned as part of the ‘Points of View’ Arts Strategy which aims to reconnect patients, staff and visitors to the wider Ayrshire landscape. Developed by Donald Urquhart and Will Levi-Marshall the arts strategy includes work across a range of creative disciplines – fine art, photography, film and architecture.
Access to outdoor environments, and the encouragement of an active lifestyle, plays an important role in relation to mental illness and well-being, and the brief presented to Graeme Massie Architects responded to these themes. It was clear and direct, yet also incredibly open – simply to create a sheltered place to sit in the open landscape surrounding the hospital.
The Respite Pavilion therefore provides an important place of outdoor relaxation; encouraging patients, staff and relatives to escape the wards and waiting rooms of the hospital for the open landscape of the wider campus.
Three rectangular planes, each with a circular aperture, intersect to form a pavilion arranged around a stand of birch trees. The pavilion frames views and creates a more hospitable outdoor micro-climate, sheltered from the wind yet open to the sun and sky. Seating is loosely dispersed, easily accommodating occupation by groups and individuals.
The construction explores how the earth and geology of an area can help create a meaningful sense of place, rooting it in a wider landscape context. A ground plane defines the extent of the intervention and is formed from red-toned self-binding sands and gravels. Upon this, the structure is formed from board marked concrete, with iron-oxide pigmentation to create an earthly affinity with the geology of the wider Ayrshire region.
The resultant form is deliberately ambiguous, with echoes of an architectural ruin, a walled garden or even an open-air chapel. This uncertainty allows users bring their own interpretation and meaning to it, stirring memories of places outwith the constraints of the hospital environment and connecting them to a familiar landscape.