IBI and Balfour Beatty chosen to design £47m mental health facility in Scotland


Preferred bidders revealed for landmark development in Irvine, North Ayrshire

IBI Group has been announced as preferred bidder, along with Balfour Beatty, to design a new £47m acute mental health and community development in Scotland.

The scheme, based in Irvine in North Ayrshire, is located close to the coast on a site surrounded by nature, which provided inspiration for the design concept.

The team, including IBI’s healthcare design department and landscaping specialists, were awarded the scheme following a nine-month competitive dialogue process with two other bidders.

The proposal creates the optimum healing environment for patients and a safe, inspirational working environment for staff.

Drawing on best practice and the latest guidance, including research from the University of Stirling, the proposal sets new benchmarks in healthcare, delivering a high-quality, modern facility meeting NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s requirements and vision.

“The building layout creates a series of spaces; from the more private areas of the wards, through to sociable shared therapy clusters and onto the more public area within the entrance that faces the wider site and community,” said Martha McSweeney, lead architect.

“This supports the patient recovery journey, building confidence, offering choice and enabling progression leading up to the transition home.”

The design adopts a holistic view of wellbeing that looks at all the psychological, emotional, physical and physiological needs. Specific considerations around all of these aspects come together within the design to create the overall therapeutic environment.

All inpatient areas are at ground-floor level, giving ultimate flexibility and equability in the layout, with easy direct access to the outside, embracing nature. Landscaping is integral to the design, with private intimate gardens on the wards, and more sociable spaces such as the cafe terrace and the wider site beyond. A woodland walk creates a pleasant space to enjoy when stepping out of the main entrance, allowing individuals to explore the landscape and pursue longer journeys within the community.

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The new facility is on a 6.5-hecatre site and comprises outpatient and inpatient facilities with a total of 206 single en-suite bedrooms. There are 90 older adult beds for rehabilitation, continuing care, and mental health wards. There are a total of 116 adult mental health beds, with facilities for acute, rehabilitation, addictions, forensics, and intensive psychiatric care.