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Written by Roma Publications

Oberlands – Multiple accolades for innovative scheme

Innovative yet practical design at the cutting edge of mental healthcare provision was key in earning the stunning new multi-award winning Oberlands Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre in St Andrews, Guernsey, a coveted place on the shortlist of the Guernsey Design Awards 2018.

Carried out for The Office for Health & Social Care and shortlisted in the awards’ Non Residential (over £250k) category, the scheme, designed by IBI, is the new home for mental health services for the people of Guernsey.


The project was carried out by HVC, who were praised for the high quality of their work.

The brief was for a building that: brought the disparate service under one roof; de-stigmatised mental health; reduced violence and aggression; was flexible for the Island’s demands, and promoted wellbeing through a therapeutic environment.

The move to treat mental health as an equal to acute health on one campus has truly made a giant step towards de-stigmatising the service.

Inpatient areas are located on the private part of the site, with therapeutic courtyards connecting the service user to the wider rural landscape.

Outpatient functions are located to engage with the public face of the campus. This co-location improves operational efficiencies in transport, catering and estates maintenance.

The design is flexible allowing boundaries within the service to respond to change. Clusters of inpatient beds are positioned around a social hub and can be altered to respond to demand. The flexible layout and standardised bedroom future-proofs the service to respond to the Island’s varied needs.

The open plan entrance provides a community hub from which way finding is simplified and enhanced by service user art.

The café within the space employs service users as part of their rehabilitation and has resulted in employment opportunities in the community. Sensitive re-modelling of the existing Georgian villa and its incorporation into the development has ensured parity for the CAMHS service, whilst establishing its own distinct identity and front door.

The unit incorporates a Georgian house which was already on the site and now accommodates child and adolescent mental health facilities. Great care was taken to blend the older building with the new build element, through the careful selection of both traditional and modern materials for the design, including Guernsey granite, which is featured on the main external elevation of the new building, as well as within the landscaping.

Andrew Street, studio Director of IBI said: “We were thrilled to be shortlisted in the awards – it’s great to be recognised for our projects and for the effort of the whole team in making this transformational project a reality.

“In addition, the scheme has picked up numerous other accolades including the UK’s Design in Mental Health Project of the Year 2016 and exhibited at the European Health Congress. This is significant for Guernsey as it showcases what the island is achieving in addressing mental healthcare and that others are looking at Guernsey for inspiration for how their services might be transformed.

“I think that the design is innovative in how it has dealt with a very complex set of services under one roof and allows each have their own space, yet also work together. For example, the heart space is a place where staff, service users and their friends and relatives can come together.”


Another key element of the design is that the space has been designed to be flexible enough to respond to the changing mental healthcare needs of the people of Guernsey.

“The main contractors did a very good job. They also went the extra mile, carrying out their own research on the special issues and requirements involved in carrying out a mental healthcare project.

“The previous facility was very institutionalised and was unpopular with service users. The new facility offers a far more attractive environment with good spaces for users to enjoy and they are now pleased to participate in the service.

“The clients are also very pleased with the scheme, which has brought about big improvements in the way that they operate their service. The amount of violence and aggression has dramatically reduced, the unit is popular with users and has been able to offer services to people who could not previously be provided for.”

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