The Alder Centre, in Alder Hey Health Park Liverpool, has been providing a unique bereavement counselling service for those affected by the death of a child since it was established in the late 1980’s. To date, however, they have not had a purpose designed building and currently inhabit and make the most of the old oncology unit. FCBStudios were shortlisted for a RIBA run competition seeking to address this and provide a new facility to allow the centre to expand their services.
The project, a new typology, is without precedent and as such we have tried to think about the building from inside out; to put ourselves in the position of visitors, volunteers, hospital workers and counsellors. We wanted to create a building of openness and a home-from-home feel that does not feel institutional.
Each internal space, the six private counselling rooms and more communal spaces, connect directly to an external walled garden designed by CW Studio. A series of calm, connected spaces provide a sanctuary for visitors and staff, and a setting for a number of activities that support the Centre. This gentle transition from inside to outside allows users to adapt their environment to meet their specific needs, for activities to spill out into the gardens and for each space to provide an individual experience.
A walled garden creates a protective, safe and sheltered space, and can be discovered within the green veil of a woodland glade.
Within the walled garden is a quiet, reflective green refuge that connects people with nature, offers a place to grieve and escape, and a place to be with others or be alone.