Ravara House, Bangor

Ravara House is a Bangor-based community facility for frail elderly and dementia patients which also provides supporting living services and acts as a training centre.

Collins Rolston was awarded the commissions following a competitive design competition.

As part of the design process our team conducted extensive reseach to create a fit for purpose space for the elderly and those dealing with dementia.  The process involved interviews with consultants, nurses, families and a number of site visits to best-in-class projects to provide the necessary insights and understanding of the best solution for this important scheme.

Familiarity with surroundings has been recognised as a key to reducing the symptoms and loss of function associated with dementia. This important consideration informed our approach in developing a ‘way-finding’ process to ensure communal spaces and bedrooms were easy to find, identify and use. Building elements, colour, texture and patterns all gave directional support, as well as artwork and signage. We ‘signposted’ rooms through personal items and memorabilia displays. Our team worked in collaboration with Occupational Therapists and the Health Trust regarding the integration of assistive and smart technologies to assist independent living. The building and external spaces are linked with wandering paths which allow opportunities for passive involvement in activities and specifically designed break out spaces each with a different theme or character.

One of the key challenges was working with multiple stakeholders to ensure all requirements were delivered.

Our site excavations uncovered unforeseen rock and variable ground water levels. In response to this, we designed a low-cost secondary land drainage system around the building perimeter to stabilise the ground water level and allow works to progress to programme.

To meet and exceed key programming dates we utilised off-site fabrication for steelwork, precast concrete, timber framing & bespoke furniture. We ensured all setting out was double checked before manufacturing commenced and this contributed to project being delivered ahead of programme.

Throughout construction we led Value Engineering processes in collaboration with the Contractor/design Team and Client to assess proposed materials/products which aided us in delivering time/cost benefits whilst not affecting quality product.

A Green roof was designed in collabaration with our Ecologist to facilitate wildlife and local plant species. This also formed our Sustainabile drainage system, improved thermal performance and reduced carbon emissions.

We carried out daylight calculations/modeling and carefully considered window size/orientation to deliver a controlled use of daylight/view of sky and maximise garden views.

All multi-purpose spaces were developed to promote movement/groupings to improve learning potential via flexible furniture layouts, mobile workstations/desks, vibrant colours/lighting, different textures/materials, high acoustic performance, maximising daylighting/views & smart technologies.

An old fashioned “sweet shop” & pub was incorporated.

The project was completed on budget & ahead of programme.