Care Home – “Internal Street”

The “Internal Street” Idea

We want to create spaces that give residents more choice about how they wish to spend their day.

The Problem

Many care homes have long featureless corridors so typical of institutional buildings, with rooms that are only used for single uses such as “The Dining Room”. The same rooms also have limited space for groups of residents to talk together or for their families to talk to them when visiting. Rooms tend to be simple rectangles on plan with chairs arranged around the walls leaving residents little scope to interact with each other, the staff or their families. That discourages residents from taking control of their own lives, relying instead on staff to bring everything to them in their chair.

Barton Court

This particular care home was purchased as a going concern by our clients in January 2016. It has a good reputation on the Isle of Sheppey and is close to full all the time with a mix of private and Kent County Council clients. However the home had not had any investment to upgrade it recently and large areas are still as they were designed and built in the 1970’s.

Our clients already own 3 other care homes in Manchester, Cranbrook and Gravesend. JHD Architects worked with them on the Cranbrook project where we added additional rooms and communal areas as well as making significant improvements to the entrance and public areas . The success of that project led to us being asked to get involved with Barton Court.

This approach has already received some interest from the Professional Care Community and features in Care Home Professional.

JHD Architects

We are a small practice that uses extensive modern technology to punch above our weight. In particular we use Building Information Modelling (BIM) to give our clients two key things:

  • We work in 3D right from design to construction drawings stages so that the client and everyone else involved with the project benefits from the better understanding that 3D models can give over conventional 2D plans. This was well illustrated at the recent presentation we gave to staff and families where we were able to walk them through the new design live and respond to their questions
  • Our 3D models have useful embedded data in every building element. We can then interrogate the model to extract that data in many different ways. This allows is to keep track of the current floor areas and room schedules at each design change then later to create complex schedules of room uses, locations of equipment, furniture lists, etc. These all contribute hugely towards accurate cost control and better management

The Solution

We are using three key concepts; the “Internal Street”, “Internal Courtyards” and “Mixed Use Communal Areas”.

The “Internal Street” serves as a the main circulation space running right through the centre of the home, from the entrance, through the internal courtyards, under the main existing block and out into the rear courtyard that connects to the annexe. However as well as being used for circulation, it’s also a place to sit, meet and chat with other residents, staff and family. So if residents are feeling gregarious, they might decide to spend all day there. There is a kitchenette nearby for drinks and snacks, a small shop area to buy day to day essentials and a hairdressing salon. It is bright and colourful with a wave form ceiling, creating a stimulating environment for residents, staff and families alike. There are some images of this “Internal Street” in the slider above.

We are also creating 3 new “Internal Courtyards” that residents have unrestricted access to, all of which are safe and secure. These courtyards split up the plan of the home providing daylight and views from the rooms adjoining them. Residents are able to go out whenever they wish, sit on a bench, look at the planting and do some of their own gardening. We are also kitting our one courtyard with play equipment for visiting grand-children and age appropriate outdoor exercise equipment. See images in the slider and also pictures of the completed courtyards at Hartley House.

Finally we are aiming to change the communal rooms from single use to “Mixed Use Communal Areas”, so that each area can be for sitting or dining and splitting them into smaller spaces to provide different characters; some near the hubbub of the street, others tucked away as quiet areas. We are also creating enlarged corridor spaces that can be used for small sitting areas.


The scheme changes a home with a floor area of approx 1,500m2 with 37 rooms to one with a floor area of 2,300m2 with 69 rooms. All the new areas are designed for people with dementia but can also be adapted for those who are in need of hospital after-care. Each room has space for a standard hospital bed with room all round to allow nursing care if needed as well as en-suite shower rooms with sliding doors to allow easy access and wet room floors to avoid any steps into the showers.

The scheme is due to be submitted for planning at the beginning of July and we expect work to start on site in early 2017.

Take a look at our video walk through of the new scheme.

Barton Court Walk Through