LOM completes QEF’s new Care and Rehabilitation Centre
August 2020 |
Construction of a new £15 million Care and Rehabilitation Centre for Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) in Leatherhead, Surrey has reached completion with the new facility opening to clients last month. LOM and contractor Buxton have delivered residential accommodation for a neuro rehabilitation service that fosters a strong connection with its surrounding woodland landscape.
The new centre will enable QEF to provide expert, multidisciplinary neuro rehabilitation for people with neurological conditions such as acquired brain injuries, stroke, neurological illness or incomplete spinal injuries, in a modern, comfortable environment.
The 4,000sqm building contains 48 ensuite bedrooms, a fully accessible physiotherapy gym, therapy rooms and recreation areas, dining and social spaces.
A new Care and Rehabilitation Centre
LOM developed a site masterplan to consolidate QEF’s real estate requirements into a more sustainable, connected and purpose-built centre, and bring together QEF’s expert, multidisciplinary teams under one roof.
Our brief was to design the new building to evoke a sense of ‘home’ and make the most of its greenbelt, woodland setting. The two-storey, ‘Y’ shaped building has a pitched roof and is configured around a green quad and a more private client’s garden at the rear. The quad is flanked by an external cloister providing a sheltered walkway around its perimeter.
Large expanses of glazing frame views of the landscape and foster a connection with the natural environment. All the bedrooms look out over green spaces and key spaces such as the two dining areas are positioned with views across the quad towards the trees.
“We worked closely with QEF to carefully balance the clinical and technical requirements that will enable them to maintain the highest standards of care with the need to create a place that feels welcoming and comfortable for QEF’s clients.”
Richard Hutchinson, LOM director
Sustainable design features
The building is designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ sustainability rating. It features passive ventilation ‘chimneys’ that allow the spaces to breathe; when CO2 levels rise, the chimney’s louvres automatically open to purge the space. To minimise its carbon footprint and reduce running costs, stringent air tightness and insulation standards have been met to minimise heat loss through the building fabric. There are also 230 photovoltaic panels on the roof which will generate over 56,000 kWh of energy for QEF.
Client’s bedrooms wrap around the private garden and connect to shared recreation, dining and social spaces. Mindful of the number of wheelchair users, circulation routes are generous and open out into communal areas. Therapy rooms are separated from the residential accommodation to create distinct ‘rest’ and ‘work’ environments and facilitate out-patient access to therapy areas. The 48 bedrooms are all ensuite and contain assistive technology to give clients greater control over their personal environments.
The building’s light, airy internal spaces are influenced by biophilic principles. Woodland-inspired accent colours are used for furnishings such as blinds and acoustic baffles.
Therapy and accommodation facilities at the Care and Rehabilitation Centre opened in July to neuro rehabilitation clients. The current pandemic has had a significant and unpredictable impact on QEF’s finances, and as a result only the ground floor of this centre is currently open. QEF is currently fundraising to finish equipping the first floor, so that the service can expand and support more clients in need of their expertise. QEF’s Survive and Thrive Appeal launched in June to support the charity’s ongoing operations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, so it can continue to enable disabled people to thrive.
“This is QEF's first purpose built facility in our 85 year history and our facilities now match the expertise of our multi-disciplinary teams. The modern and homely environment of the Care and Rehabilitation Centre has been designed specifically to meet the needs of clients and it is exciting to see our teams making full use of the centre and the difference this is already making to peoples’ lives.”