Located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, The Rowan was designed as a safe, secure and private environment for victims of sexual assault, providing holistic health and support services.
The £1.5m centre - designed by integrated architecture, interior design and planning consultancy Keppie Design -covers 655 sq m and takes the form of a series of small ‘houses’, surrounded by gardens. Three of the houses contain accommodation for patients, with a fourth featuring relaxed consultation rooms. Staff accommodation is set separately, at the approach of the building outside of the garden walls, to give a welcoming frontage while screening the more private areas.
Rather than being insular, the buildings are designed to help re-engage the patients with the natural environment. The softness of the wood used both internally and externally provides a perception of a softer core, supported by the more solid brick garden wall, to offer a protective environment.
The external cladding is European Larch, treated with preservative to maintain the timber’s warm colour. Larger areas of timber cladding are detailed with over hangs to reduce the potential of accelerated weathering, while also offering shelter to the service users when using the outdoor areas.
The detailing of the curtain walls assist with the internal-external transition. The robust aluminium mullions are softened with European larch caps externally and clad with white oak internally where possible.
Karen Douglas, from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, The Rowan, said: “The Rowan has been designed to create a comfortable, calm, safe haven to those in need of this specialist service. The structure of the building and the materials chosen make optimum use of natural resources, and exude warmth, light, and a sense of space. The integrity of the build is there for all to see.”