Landscape work for first phase of 10-year Royal Edinburgh Hospital regeneration nears completion

Landscape work at the first £48 million phase of the Scottish Government-funded Royal Edinburgh Hospital regeneration is almost finished. Johnsons of Whixley has supplied plant material worth £122,000 to the project so far.

Erz's design for the acute mental health courtyard. Image: Erz
Erz's design for the acute mental health courtyard. Image: Erz

A masterplan for the 10-year project to update and upgrade the hospital, and detailed landscape designs for the first two phases have been completed by Glasgow landscape-led multidisciplinary practice Erz. Builders are Land Engineering Scotland, working for main contractor Morrison Construction. 

NHS Lothian received £120 million funding from Scottish Government in 2014.

Erz worked with architect Archial Norr on the masterplan for the project. Phase one, for the hospital’s psychiatric services, features a building with a total of 20 landscaped courtyards, with wards and day rooms looking out onto them.

Erz associate architect Murray McKellar said: "It's a great project. We completed the campus masterplan back in 2012, phase one of the project was delivered last year and we are currently developing the design of phase two. 

"We worked with NHS Lothian and the architects from inception to develop the concept and the masterplan and the layout of the building that focused each ward around a courtyard.

"We have a good working relationship with the architect and have been working with them for a long time so we were able to develop the landscape and architectural design together. The design allows people suffering from mental health problems to always have a relationship with the outside and the changing seasons. The courtyard design has been developed in close collaboration with the NHS clinicians to provide specific therapeutic outcomes depending on the patient groups.

"They are directly accessible from the day rooms and the doors are always unlocked so even in a secure environment patients can always get outside in the open air, get out and relax or partake in horticultural therapy sessions." 

Erz worked with Land Engineering Scotland, which engaged Johnsons of Whixley to supply two phases of the project. In total, 280 specimen trees up to 25-30cm girth and 45,000 container shrubs are being delivered to the scheme, with over 70 different species.

Iain Richardson, joint managing director at Johnsons of Whixley said: "It’s been exciting to see the overall project develop and we feel privileged to have had such a significant involvement in a project that will have such an important impact on people’s lives." 

Phase two covers more of the campus and includes the wider use parkland with walking and access routes and cycle paths, added McKellar. "There has been a strong tradition at the hospital of community growing and there is a historic urban orchard on the site. This is now by a new area where third sector organisations are based that engage with the hospital. The contractors have cleared out a lot of brambles and other invasives that were in the orchard and there has been new apple tree planting as well as a wildflower meadow. Phase two is due to go on site later this year." 

The second phase is for both a neural rehabilitation centre and a physical rehabilitation centre so the external environment provides for that. Erz has designed various different surfaces, such as cobbles and gravel, as well as slopes and hills, so that those adapting to prosthetic limbs or wheelchairs can get accustomed to them.

Johnsons has experience in growing plants for high-profile schemes including the Forth Road Bridge, Royal Parks, HS1 and the Athletes Village at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014. 





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