Paul Ashton + HBMA have secured planning permission at committee for the redevelopment of a former Carmelite Monastery in Liverpool. The site is to become a new respite centre and hospice for the regional children’s charity Claire House.
The monastery at Honey's Green Lane in West Derby was built in 1906 and occupied by the Carmelite Sisters for more than 100 years. The Sisters moved to new purpose-built premises in early 2013, and donated the site to Claire House.
Project architect Paul Ashton said: “The Carmelite Sisters were an enclosed order, and this sense of separation was expressed in the architecture of the original building. This was at odds with the way in which Claire House operate. The first stage was to critically appraise the existing building to establish what elements could be retained and what elements needed to be removed in order to make the site work for Claire House. We needed to unlock a site that had been inward-looking for 100 years and open it up to the wider community.”
The key principle behind these proposals has been that all new development should be clustered around the retained core of the existing monastery. This allowed us to retain as much of the gardens, and as many of trees as possible. It was felt that these features are really the key assets of the site.
The first key move was the creation of a two storey 'C shaped' block to the north of the site. This block wraps around the retained core and plugs into it at numerous places. This creates a series of internal courtyards and light-wells and shrouds some of the more austere portions of the existing building.
Between the main building and the trees we have proposed a series of single storey hospice bed spaces which connect to the main building. This element is designed to feel like it is part of the woodland setting rather than the main building. We tried to avoid an institutional feel so we created a series of smaller buildings that are connected with intersecting corridors and courtyards. These bed spaces open onto the woodland setting.
Presently, Claire House offers day trips to the countryside from its base in Wirral. This new project will allow them to provide the same type of experience on their own premises.
The site provides 12 hospice beds together with 3 family support suites. Additionally there are facilities for supporting staff, administrative and utility accommodation. The hospice will operate on a 24 hour basis with staff and volunteers working on a shift basis.
Claire House was established in 1991 and serves the North West of England, North Wales and the Isle of Man, providing care for children and young people up to the age of 23 with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions.