Royal Edinburgh Hospital LFGNP Walking Tour

Royal Edinburgh Hospital LFGNP Walking Tour

LFGN Partnership presentation and tour of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital

2 NOVEMBER 2017, EDINBURGH Following on from the Livingston walking tour in the summer, LFGNP organised another successful partnership walking tour in early November.

This time the focus was on the Royal Edinburgh Hospital located in Morningside, Edinburgh, where NHS Lothian is in the process of redeveloping the campus. Alongside the redevelopment of healthcare buildings there has been particular care and attention paid to the landscape, both to internal courtyards and the external spaces. The campus masterplan provides a coherent framework to deliver the benefits that green infrastructure and green networks running through the site can provide.

Southern Parkland and cycle path

During the afternoon the group heard how ERZ Studio were commissioned, as part of a multi-disciplinary design team, to prepare a masterplan for the redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital campus and subsequently to design and oversee delivery of the first two phases of the project. The first phase of the project was completed in 2016 and is a £40 million acute mental health and brain injury facility.

Rolf Roscher, ERZ

Rolf Roscher, Director of ERZ, took us through the masterplan process. A crucial part of the masterplan was developing coherent strategies for key areas of the site such as the Southern Parkland, the historic orchard, vehicular boulevard and parking, growing spaces and the main public entrances to the site. The therapeutic benefit of access to the external environment was integral to the proposals. Associated with each building are therapeutic landscapes, mostly courtyards that provide a secure outside space for staff and patients.

Rolf also emphasised the strong links of the site to the wider community through third sector organisations who are important users of the open space such as the Cyrenians who run the  community gardens.

Royal Edinburgh Community Gardens

On the tour we visited the community gardens and orchard that sit within the southern parkland. When complete the parkland will provide a continuous linear greenspace running along the entire southern edge of the campus. The first section of the new public cycle path has now been delivered which will connect the different greenspaces and also once complete from Morningside to Myreside Road. The parkland will act as a ‘permeable’ buffer to separate the public cycle route from the hospital buildings.

Another striking feature of the campus redevelopment was the careful blend of heritage and modern character. The new buildings have a clean and modern design however key historic features such as MacKinnon House, the orchard and the mature trees shelter belts have all been retained.

The Orchard


At the completed phase 1 building the landscape and external spaces had been identified by the NHS as key to delivering a range of health and therapeutic benefits for patients, staff and visitors. The hospital wards are organised around a total of 20 therapeutic courtyards to provide barrier free access for patients to a secure external environment.

During the tour it was evident that NHS Lothian had put patient access to outdoor space and quality design of the landscape at the heart of the redevelopment. By working closely with the clinicians in a series of workshops and having a clinical lead at the masterplan stage, ERZ were able to embed patient needs early on in the process. The operations manager from the phase 1 building noted on the day the huge positive impact this had had on the lives of both the patients and the staff.

Phase 1 building with courtyards

The commitment to the landscape was notable in the selection of high quality materials such as the natural stone paving, the destination shelters in the courtyards, the raised flower beds and rich sensory planting which have put hospital user groups with different needs and conditions at the core of the designs.

During the presentation and the tour Rolf and Murray McKellar (Associate at ERZ) highlighted areas where phase two of the project will take place, which is due to start in 2018. As well as delivery of three new buildings the project will include delivery of the main spine ‘The Boulevard’, the next section of the public cycle path, enhancements to the southern parkland and the main pedestrian axis route.

LFGNP would like to thank ERZ, NHS Lothian and partners for attending.

Overall the visit to Royal Edinburgh Hospital was an inspiring and insightful day highlighting how a landscape masterplan on a NHS campus can improve the quality of the external environment, promote therapeutic use of the landscape and provide a recreational resource for patients, staff and visitors.  This was delivered using existing and new green infrastructure and networks.  The partnership working between NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council and the landscape architects has set an example as to how to deliver successful, healthy and sustainable outcomes for local communities.

Check out tweets from the day via #GreenRoyalEd