NBBJ is a popular American global architecture, design and planning firm founded in 1943 and now located in Boston, Columbus, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Pune, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, and Washington D.C.. NBBJ offers its services in architecture, interiors, planning and urban design, experience design, healthcare and workplace consulting, landscape design, and lighting design. The firm serves multiple markets and building types: cultural, civic, corporate, commercial, healthcare, education, science, sports, and urban environments. NBBJ and Ryder Architecture Laing O’Rourke have built Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary Hospital for £213 million. The hospital was officially opened by Princess Royal in 2018. The hospital covers the entire Dumfries town and the catchment area of South West Scotland, which has a population of c.150,000. It has 344 single rooms, each with a computer point to allow real-time updating of patient records.

The Garden Hospital -Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary by NBBJ - Sheet1
A Case Study on the Garden Hospital_https://www.nbbj.com/work/dumfries-and-galloway-royal-infirmary

The Garden Hospital, also known as Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, is a prominent hospital in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. This case study delves into the hospital’s design, materials, construction, and sustainability aspects to show what innovations and environmentally conscious approach has been taken by the NBBJ.

1. Design

1.1 Planning

The design of The Garden Hospital is the result of constant and careful observation of the natural background and local community requirements. Detailed and extensive research and engagement were conducted by the NBBJ and the shareholders to understand the context and build a thorough design brief. This has allowed them to develop a collaborative approach which ensured that the hospital’s design adjusted as per the needs of patients, staff, and the community.

The Garden Hospital -Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary by NBBJ - Sheet2
Natural Light Access_https://www.nbbj.com/work/dumfries-and-galloway-royal-infirmary

1.2 Design Solutions

The hospital’s design is intended to deliver a curing environment that endorses patient well-being while integrating with the adjacent landscape. To achieve this objective, NBBJ incorporated numerous key design solutions:

– Biophilic Design: To create a calming and restorative atmosphere, the Garden Hospital combined rich green spaces, rooftop gardens, and natural light. The incorporation of nature into the design improves patient recovery and overall well-being.

– Patient-Centric Approach: The design aims to prioritise the patient’s comfort and privacy and create a friendly and supportive environment. To improve the overall patient and visitors experience, the hospital’s layout integrates sufficient places for family visits, outdoor areas, and a quiet zone.

– Circulation and Wayfinding: NBBJ carefully planned the hospital‘s layout to optimise patient and staff movement. Clear signage and intuitive wayfinding systems were implemented to minimise stress and confusion, ensuring efficient navigation within the facility.

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Single rooms_https://www.nbbj.com/work/dumfries-and-galloway-royal-infirmary

1.3 Design Philosophy

The design philosophy of The Garden Hospital revolves around a human-centric care approach and sustainability. NBBJ created an approach focused on creating a healing environment that supports the physical, emotional, and mental health of patients and staff. The core principles of the design process were the incorporation of nature, access to daylight, and the use of sustainable materials.

2. Materials/Construction

2.1 Innovative Construction Techniques

To boost efficiency and sustainability, The Garden Hospital applied numerous innovative construction techniques:

– Prefabrication: Throughout this process, modular construction methods were placed to reduce waste, increase construction speed, and reduce disruption to the site. Prefabricated components, such as patient room modules, were manufactured off-site and then assembled on-site, letting to quicker construction agendas.

 – Sustainable Concrete: The hospital engaged in high-performance concrete with a concentrated carbon footprint, incorporating additional cementitious materials and recycled accumulated. This approach allowed for easing the environmental impact connected with concrete production.

2.2 Special Materials

To make sure sustainability, durability, and aesthetics, The Garden Hospital prioritised the collection of materials, including:

– Timber:  Responsibly sourced timber was incorporated for interior elements such as ceilings, flooring, and wall cladding. Wood improves the visual appeal and contributes to a soothing and natural atmosphere within the hospital spaces.

– Glazing Systems: High-performance glazing systems were used to maximise natural light entrance, offering insulation and energy efficiency. These systems decrease the dependence on artificial lighting and contribute to a healthier indoor environment.

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The Design_https://www.nbbj.com/work/dumfries-and-galloway-royal-infirmary

3. Sustainability:

The Garden Hospital clearly shows sustainable design principles using its numerous features:

– Energy Efficiency: The hospital incorporated energy-efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting, and occupancy sensors to optimise energy consumption. Moreover, integrating natural ventilation and daylight harvesting decreases dependence on mechanical systems.

Green Infrastructure: Adding rooftop gardens and vast landscaping endorses biodiversity, enhances air quality, and mitigates the urban heat island effect. These green spaces also deliver patients, visitors, and staff opportunities for therapy and relaxation.

– Water Conservation: The hospital integrates water-efficient fixtures and rainwater harvesting systems to minimise water consumption. Efficient irrigation systems for the green spaces further add to water conservation efforts.


NBBJ designed The Garden Hospital in a way that it stands as a major example of a healthcare facility that promotes patient well-being, sustainability, and incorporation with nature. Through its thoughtful design solutions, innovative construction techniques, and commitment to environmental care, the hospital delivers a healing environment that equally supports patients and staff’s physical and emotional requirements and decreases its environmental footprint.


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