Cherry Orchard Health, Dublin

The new Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Facility at Cherry Orchard Hospital provides services for clients aged 2 to 18 years of age and comprises three community team departments, a day hospital, a staff training department and administration support services. It is one of the first physical manifestations of the Irish Health Service’s new ‘Vision for Change’ Mental Health programme.

The principal philosophy of the brief was to provide an open, community-based building with an overriding emphasis on a safe child and adolescent environment. In response, the practice sought to provide a distinct and inviting building, empathetic to children and adolescents with very particular needs and anxieties.

The building form consists of a number of wings (leaves) that contain the separate functions of the brief while providing interconnectivity through a shared, common foyer that provides the desired level of security. The playful massing, yet careful attention to scale, colour, detail and materials has been derived from the desire to ground the facility in its natural landscape environment and has resulted in a facility that is inviting to both patients and staff.

Emphasis was put on creating therapeutic environments; key aspects included natural light and ventilation, maximize exposure to the magnificent view of the mountains, the use of high quality interior design and art installations, interaction with the peripheral landscape, green roof terraces, integrated winter gardens and courtyards creating an environment to aid the efficacy of treatment provided.

Judges at the recent WAN World Architecture Awards noted the vast improvement in how mental health is catered for in design. The new Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Facility by Reddy Architecture + Urbanism was one of the two Mental Health projects to make the last 32 of these prestigious international awards.

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