Robin House

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Chosen for its outlook and immediate access to the surrounding scenery, the site at Balloch Castle in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park provides the setting for Scotland’s second children’s hospice, offering respite care for families and children with life limiting illnesses.

Completed in 2006, the building provides residential care and accommodation for up to 9 children and their families at any one time, together with access to a wide range of activities and therapeutic facilities. Whilst the children using the hospice require a high level of clinical support the aim is for the building to create a ‘home away from home’ that eschews the typical institutional feel of the medical environments many of these children, and their families, are frequently exposed to.
The building is perceived as part of a wider landscape strategy across the whole of its sloping, hillside site, the aim being that as the landscape matures it creates a more private setting for the hospice and helps break down the scale of what is a relatively large building, for those coming to stay.

To aid mobility, the children’s rooms and main facilities are located on the ground floor and grouped into two wings, following the contours that run across the site. The bedrooms are orientated south to maximise daylight and views and each wing culminates in a fully glazed space housing the library and hydrotherapy pool respectively.

The wings are positioned such as to create a large entrance courtyard and a further, more intimate and almost completely enclosed, glazed internal courtyard. The latter forms the main play and activity area and is inhabited by a series of brightly coloured ‘capsules’ that appear to reach up through the glazed roof, adding a playful, magical feel to the space. Each of these capsules contain specialist play and therapy spaces.

A discreet suite of parents’ bedrooms and support spaces (including terrace, lounge, kitchen and laundry) are situated on a lower level, separated from the children’s bedrooms to allow the parents some respite. In order to prevent intrusion on families staying at the hospice the education and seminar spaces are located on an upper level, accessed directly from the main entrance.

The main day space, dining and kitchen areas link between the two main wings on the ground floor and form the social heart of the building where families and carers come together. The undulating ‘ribbon’ roof over these areas breaks the relatively large volume down into a series of more intimate spaces and allows a high degree of natural light throughout. The communal day spaces and private bedroom areas all open directly onto external terraces that connect out into a network of accessible pathways running through a series of different garden and woodland areas.

Photography by Andrew Lee

For further details of the project download the full case study via the link in the resources section to the right.

About this development
Project Robin House
Location Balloch, West Dunbartonshire
Client Body Children’s Hospice Association Scotland
Delivery Team Gareth Hoskins Architects
Value £8.2 million
Procurement Type Invited competition followed by Traditional contract
Opening Date August 2005
Development Types Children’s and young people’s services
Project Summary Robin House (PDF)
Images Download all images (ZIP)

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