Ferndene Children's Centre







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Ferndene brings together children’s mental health and learning disability services for the first time in the UK in a 40 bed residential centre for those aged 4 to 18 years old. The building is conceived as a hand with fingers of bedroom accommodation spanning out from a central activity building in the palm. Courtyard gardens signal the transition from private bed spaces to shared therapy areas. The positioning of living and day space at the fingertips sets up panoramic views over the mature woodland and Northumbrian hills beyond.

The scheme successfully balances the need to achieve levels of low secure standards while fostering a sense of domesticity throughout. Safe fixtures, fittings and robust background fabric were conceived and composed to be discreet and integral to the design of the buildings rather than ‘add-on’ features.

Monthly forums with service users developed and reinforced strong individual identities of the four ward groups. Through art, poetry, colour and way-finding a story is told forming a site wide narrative that arrives in the key public space informing a vibrant interior scheme actively engaging with its inhabitants along the way. Close working with the young inhabitants has ensured that the building responds directly to their needs. It avoids the characteristics of a traditional mental health building whilst providing a safe and salutogenic environment.

We are so pleased with Ferndene, it’s doesn’t feel like a hospital and is a wonderful place to work. Thank you, thank you!


Eddy Wilkinson - Education Activities Coordinator at Ferndene

Prudhoe, Northumberland, UK


Mental Health


Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust



Lead Consultant, Masterplanner and Architect


£25m / US$ 38.84m



Completed 2011


  • Building Better Healthcare Awards 2012: Best Use of the Arts

  • Constructing Excellence National Awards 2012: Integration & Collaborative Working Award

  • Health Service Journal: Good Corporate Citizenship Award 2012

  • International Academy of Design and Health 2012: Best International Mental Health

  • Constructing Excellence North East Awards 2012: Project of the Year; Client of the Year; Integration & Collaborative Working; Highly Commended – Legacy Award for Sustainability

  • Society of British Interior Design: Innovation Award 2012


Contact Us | © Medical Architecture Australasia Pacific Pty Limited 2021 | Nominated NSW Registered Architect: John Alexander Clarke 8903

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