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 strikes a fine balance between providing safe, low secure accommodation 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.

Developing the design closely with input from the young inhabitants has ensured that the building responds directly to their needs. It cleverly avoids the institutional 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


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