Sycamore at Northgate Park Hospital redevelopment

At the heart of the £60m redevelopment of Northgate Park Hospital in Morpeth (UK), Sycamore is a new medium-security hospital prioritising patient wellbeing. It offers a wide variety of welcoming indoor and outdoor settings for relaxation and activity, relieving boredom and addressing the risk of challenging behaviours and poor physical health.

These settings are enriched with a high-quality palette of landscape materials, and site furnishings that play an essential role in creating a positive image and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health facilities.

Designed by Medical Architecture with landscape architecture by Newcastle-based practice Colour, Sycamore offers inpatient accommodation for 72 male patients with a spectrum of forensic mental health needs. Six patient wards are paired together and arranged around a large recreation courtyard to form a secure boundary without the need for high fences and the imposing feeling they can create. In response to patient needs, the courtyard is divided into ‘Passive’ and ‘Active’ zones.

The ‘Passive’ zone provides refuge, with restful, semi-enclosed places to sit amongst plants and grasses. Streetlife’s Drifter picnic sets offer opportunities for groups to casually congregate, while the linear Drifter benches that line the pathways offer plentiful seating options with views out to the wider recreation area, serving as a gentle enticement to the activities offered.

Drifter benches and Drifter top seats also provide diverse seating options along the edges of the sport courts in the ‘Active’ zone, which also includes a 200m jogging/walking loop, activity spaces, and a fitness ‘Trim Trail’ to promote physical activity and its associated wellbeing benefits.

Colour selected Streetlife’s furnishings here for their contemporary style and robustness. Furthermore, specified Drifter products are realized in Streetife’s material option of Lava Grey, a durable composite made entirely from recycled household plastic waste. The landscape architects note that the environmental aspect of using high-quality recyclables is also an important characteristic of these furnishings.

In summary, the innovative spatial concepts and high-quality design elements specified at
Sycamore marks a progressive shift towards a new standard for mental health facility design.

Sycamore at Northgate Park Hospital redevelopment

Landscape Architect: Colour

Architect: Medical Architecture

Images Credit: © Colour / Streetlife

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About Damian Holmes 3288 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at