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Client: delamere ltd

Location: Delamere, Cheshire

Program: A purpose built, new build residential rehabilitation centre in Cheshire.

Purpose-built residential rehab that breaks the mould



Delamere is a residential treatment centre in Cheshire, but this doesn’t really explain what Delamere means to the individuals who use and depend on it. This is because what the users of this facility want does not always align with what we think they need.

First, it’s crucial to ask this question:

Why shouldn’t a treatment centre be aspirational?

Delamere is the first ever purpose-built drug and alcohol treatment centre in the UK. The end-user of this centre needs to buy into their immediate surroundings, just as the end-user in a luxury development would. This is about positioning this facility differently from established residential treatment centres such as The Priory.

It isn’t a repurposed Victorian structure. It’s the first new built model. And the structure reflects the Delamere’s treatment programme, which is totally new too. The design also serves the multi-functional nature of the facility.


Empathic Design


Different people undergoing treatment will be on different stages of their own, particular journey. While one resident may require constant treatment, another will be well on the way to independence through an established programme of recovery.

As a single structure, the Delamere needs to encompass all these things. It has to include medical rooms, but also spaces where residents can feel supported but independent. And the function of these spaces shouldn’t detract from their overall design and finish. People undergoing treatment deserve to feel valued by their surroundings.

This type of facility should embody empathic design, where it can fulfil the various needs and aspirations of its users.


Personal Experience and the Creative Process


The client had a personal story of recovery in rehab. It was important to listen to him, and to find ways of translating his largely negative experiences into a positive form of affirmation through design. This process was as important to us as the design process itself.

It allowed us to step back from the technology of architectural design and trust our human instincts, and using direct communication to inform how we worked with the client and shaped the concept.

The result is a well-received building, that works functionally for rehabilitation purposes, but also architecturally. It breaks the mould for the type of facility it is, but it still meets the needs, and aspirations of the client and its end-users.


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