Jorge Eguiguren

KKE Architects

KKE Architects Ltd.
Danks Warehouse,
Diglis Basin,
60 Diglis Road,
Worcester WR5 3BW, UK
t: + 44 (0)1905 358626.


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St. Giles Hospice Compassus Centre

To provide an all-new, 27-bed in-patient unit for the hospice, with a majority of single rooms plus dedicated en-suite sanitary provision, in order to offer greater privacy and dignity to patients and relatives. The new unit was to be considerably larger than the existing one it replaced; in fact it would be as large as the whole existing hospice.

The brief required more footprint area per bed-space than wards or domestic single rooms, (24sq.m compared with IOsq.m) and buildings with a deeper plan: (the internal width of the new unit is 15m compared with 7m for the existing in-patient unit). Ancillary accommodation needs were extensive: assisted bathrooms, discreet mortuary and viewing facilities, as well as suitable management space and mechanical and electrical plant space. Achieving a VAT zero-rating was also a key consideration.

Subtle and differentiated landscaping and gardens had to reach out to all hospice user groups, from patients and staff to visitors and the bereaved.

Planning and Social Constraints The development site was partially within the Whittington village settlement boundary and partially within the adjoining Green Belt. There are few other buildings in the area around the site and therefore little historical context in built form. The environment is edge of the settlement/rural. Very Special Circumstances (including setting out how clinical and social standards are changing and showing the need for more palliative care beds) had to be accepted in order to obtain planning consent for development in the Green Belt.

Materials and method of construction The original 19th Century house, which forms the core of the day hospice, was built from load-bearing brickwork under slate roofs - materials which were also referenced in a major 1980s extension. To accommodate the layout of the new Centre on the 1.6hA site whilst keeping as low a profile as possible, we designed a split-level layout, which uses the slope of the site to create effectively two ground floor levels, matching the two existing levels. By using low pitch green roofs, a roofscape has been achieved which sits tight to the existing landscape. The width of the unit has been divided into different masses by varying the roof section. A pitched slated roof of the same scale and characteristics of the existing buildings faces the old hospice. The remainder, facing the open land is more abstract, with flatter, planted roofs and a profile which steps down to the Green Belt land.

Summary of Timetable, Programme and Budget Constraints The programme was driven by hospice funding since the existing in-patient unit remained functioning throughout construction. The budget constraint was value rather than cost and a construction budget of £7M was protected from concept through to operational handover. A traditional procurement was chosen to control quality and the building was handed over on time, after a construction period of 15 months.

St Giles Hospice Compassus Centre
project description : new in-patient unit
contract value: £6,500,000
completion date : 7fh May 2010

About KKE Architects:

KKE Architects is an architecture and landscape design practice, established in 2005 and named after its founding directors (Kirk, Kavanagh & Eguiguren). The practice is a specialist in healthcare design – especially the design of hospices with over 25 completed projects to date – alongside a growing portfolio of education, residential and office projects.

KKE Architects' work has won or been nominated for a number of leading awards, including the RIBA and Civic Trust Awards, as well as the new AJ Retrofit Award

Three of the practice directors have a background in architecture, whilst the fourth, Olivia Kirk, is a landscape/garden designer and a Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner for her 2011 garden for Worcester Bosch.