Dr Christina Malathouni, and Haziq Khairi, University who has been working with her on research into mental health facilities UK-wide, consider Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘unique approach’ to its contemporary mental health facilities.
Dr Christina Malathouni, an architect and architectural historian at the Liverpool School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, and Haziq Khairi, a Part I Architectural Assistant and graduate of the University who has been working with her on research into mental health facilities UK-wide, consider Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘unique approach’ to its contemporary mental health facilities. They say their review proved ‘an uplifting exercise in effective planning, user and community participation, commissioning, design, and communication’, and development of both inpatient and ‘innovative’ community facilities.
In recent months, as the reality of a pandemic became increasingly apparent across the globe, the significance of our physical and mental health has been brought to the foreground of our collective thoughts. Widespread lockdown measures worked their way into daily life, and many of us remained indoors and largely confined to within the walls of our homes. Restrictions on the use of shared open and enclosed spaces further highlighted the key role of the built environment in personal and community wellbeing. Within this context, a review of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s approach to its contemporary mental health facilities has proven to be an uplifting exercise in effective planning, user and community participation, commissioning, design, and communication, as well as its development of both inpatient and innovative community facilities.
Over the course of summer 2020, Mersey Care oversaw the completion of two significant new inpatient facilities. Last June saw the opening of Gilling Dod Architects’ Hartley Hospital in Southport (Fig 1),1 while at Maghull, handover took place for Rowan View Hospital, designed by IBI Group. (Fig 2).2 However, these inpatient units are just one facet of the Trust’s extensive mental health services portfolio. At a more inclusive, communityfocused level, the Life Rooms programme – which provides a platform for learning, treatment, recovery, and wellbeing services3 – has received significant attention for its re-use of existing heritage buildings, or its co-location with other educational, health, or cultural organisations. The diversity of the Life Rooms service is reflected in the variety of buildings used to house the service, from the former Walton Library, to the Playhouse Theatre in Liverpool’s city centre.
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