Collaborative Design For Alder Hey Bereavement Centre

We were delighted to be shortlisted for the design of the new Bereavement Counselling Centre at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool as one of just five architectural practices nationwide.

The RIBA competition was for a £1m center to provide bereavement counselling for families who have lost a child, as well as a national telephone helpline and general counselling for hospital staff. The Centre will eventually occupy a prominent plot overlooking Springfield Park which is currently occupied by vacated former hospital buildings due to be demolished.

JDDK Lead Architect, Alison Thornton-Sykes explained, “By its very nature, this was to be a highly sensitive building and we decided that our design would respond to the park location with tree-like structures leading up to a stepped roof terrace and containing informal ‘den-like’ meeting areas.”

“While not selected as the winning scheme, the competition gave the office the opportunity to work together and test new ideas. What’s great about JDDK is the collaborative spirit with each team member bringing different skills and approaches from making models using cocktail sticks stuck into plasticine and sketches through to developing the design digitally using Dynamo Studio (a programme which extends design possibilities. The software enabled us to create visual logic from code and translate it to 3D to explore ‘parametric’ (unique parameter based geometric relationships) conceptual designs. The software capability was invaluable in producing the complex geometries required for the design. We even built a detailed physical model” Matt Holmes then used more traditional Revit software to further develop the design and show how it could be built with the ‘tree roots’ or wigwam structures containing central meeting spaces, and ring beams on which the structural elements are supported.”

“We had just a short time to work on the entry but it showed that how working as a team, we could pull such a great design together.”