The Granada Centre is the newest addition to the St John of God Halswell healthcare facility. It is a Canterbury-based specialist service providing residential and respite support for adults living with physical and/or neurological impairments. We wanted to provide a centre that was bright and cheerful; a place that did not look or feel like a traditional healthcare facility; A place that felt relaxed, while stimulating the brain to encourage the rehabilitation process. The concept was to create a series of separate ‘pods’ with raking ceilings linked together by a 2.4m wide gallery with polished exposed aggregate concrete floors and large glazed sliding doors opening out to a sensory courtyard garden. The forms allows for natural ventilation and daylight to flood the spaces. With high ceilings, substantial glazing, large sliding door openings between spaces, bright colours and integrated lighting design the overall result is a building that is welcoming, light and spacious. It is a highly functional rehabilitation centre which is far removed from the appearance of traditional healthcare facilities.
It is well documented that different colours can create different moods. Bright colours are thought to enhance energy levels and increase happiness. This is evident in children’s hospitals. We wanted to incorporate the way finding as part of the colour scheme. This not only made it easier for those familiar with the building to find their way but also for those that that have difficulty reading or remembering words, as is common in neurological impairments. This was achieved by painting the bulkhead running the length of the gallery the different colours that lined up with each ‘pod’. The signs to the rooms were colour matched, selected walls within the ‘pods’ and colour inserts in the carpet were matched with the corresponding paint to that area reinforcing the colour scheme without being overpowering. The doors to the accessible toilets were also painted with colour to add a bit of fun.
One of the biggest challenges in choosing this colour scheme was convincing some of the staff who had spent their whole careers in a healthcare environment with traditional muted colour tones that you can actually get away with bright colours in this type of workplace. We thoroughly enjoyed working on this project; by helping a not-for-profit organisation to improve their facilities and the quality of service they can offer to the wider Canterbury community, we felt privileged to be part of something special.