Poole Care Home

Project:  New Build Dementia Care Home 

Client:    Borough of Poole 

Atkins won a competitive tender to deliver an 80 bed dementia focused care home in the Canford Heath area of Poole on behalf of the Local Authority to replace a previous facility which was no longer fit for purpose. At the heart of the brief was a fundamental change in the basic approach to the care of older people. Instead of large scale, institutional buildings with centrally provided catering and recreational facilities, the emphasis is on personalised care.


From the outset the desire was always been to create a ‘home’ for the residents. One of the most enduring images we have from childhood and is instantly recognisable as a house, is the pitched roof, smoking chimney, door and window. This was the basis of our approach to the external form. The nearby existing properties were of varying styles and ages, with the dominant material being brick, with pitched roof. The new building, as well as using form and scale to minimise the visible impact, uses traditional materials and details, to complement this existing context.


The concept of three distinct blocks linked by smaller more diminutive blocks was established early in the design development through an examination of the vernacular forms and morphing of the basic shapes we have drawn out this highly characterised form adorned with chimneys to create what is instantly recognisable which many of us would associate with a ‘house’. This reference is intended to give a welcoming and familiar face to the development. This approach, coupled with the stepped façades, further breaks down the institutional appearance which can often result as a consequence of enlarged floor to floor allowances and bulky servicing requirements which is in stark contrast to a domestic elevation. The chimneys are designed to provide discreet extract points which again detract from institutional care. These three façades help identify the contrast between the solid private areas and the more transparent link blocks, affording residents the opportunity to catch glimpses of activity on the street as an alternative to the quieter courtyard aspect. The gables play on the established rule that the ends of properties are typically more diminutive in comparison to the ‘main façade’ and reflects the staff and servicing facilities held within.


The project started on site in January 2018 and is due for completion towards the end of 2019.


Key element: New benchmark for delivery of care for the Council, to be implemented on future sites.


Matthew was Project Architect at Atkins from Stage 0 through to early Stage 5 discussions with the selected contractor.




Matthew Coe / Tom Freeman 

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