Breathing new life into former NHS buildings

Re-imagining former NHS properties into desirable, modern homes has become something of a speciality for Bell Ingram Design.

When developer Duncarse brought the firm onto its ambitious project to transform Liff Hospital in 2005, no-one could have predicted the enormous level of interest in the development of an ex-psychiatric unit operated by NHS Tayside.

Scores of buyers queued to reserve properties in the hospital building (renamed Gowrie House) and the wider West Green Park development, with more than £2.5 million worth of new homes sold in just two days, all without even having to advertise.

This experience led to Robertson Homes appointing Bell Ingram Design to deliver a full architectural and planning service to its Great Glen project which is currently breathing new life into the former Craig Dunain psychiatric hospital in Inverness.

Bruce Stephens said: “Although both conversions sound broadly similar ‘on paper’ the challenges could not have been more different. NHS staff had barely moved out of Liff Hospital when work began, while Craig Dunain had been unoccupied for almost 20 years. Many of Liff’s highly desirable original features (including sash and case windows, high ceilings, coving, ceiling roses and extra-deep skirting) were still intact at Liff, while the opposite was true at Craig Dunain.

“Ultimately, the success of these two projects rested on the preservation and enhancement of the buildings’ architectural and historic interest, and what both developers have achieved is not only historically important but also tremendously exciting for architecturally progressive cities like Dundee and Inverness.

“Going forward both Liff and Craig Dunain have become roadmaps for other developers looking to re-purpose historic buildings into residential premises.”

Bruce Stephens

Architect - Director
Tel: 01738 621 121

Article posted on 06/03/2020

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