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Occupying a beautiful rural setting one mile west of Cupar in Fife, Stratheden Hospital’s new £3.7m Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit (IPCU) provides a safe and calm environment for patients experiencing acute episodes of mental illness.

Designed by Oberlanders Architects, with Graham Construction the appointed main contractor, the purpose-built facility combines striking modern design and high-quality materials, within a constrained budget. The architect created an open rain screen solution for the exterior, with full and half board Russwood Scotlarch® creating a dynamic effect that integrates with the surrounding landscape. The locally-sourced timber has an abundance of knots, adding to its rich natural character, and the client selected untreated boards to allow the wood to fade to a silvery grey, complementing the young and mature trees surrounding the site.

Because the building is single-storey, the client was able to use full-length boards, reducing waste from offcuts. Balancing design aspirations with budget constraints was a key challenge of the build, and Russwood suggested a series of finishes and specifications that kept the build on track. "Russwood were fantastic at offering advice and presenting potential solutions as the design developed", said Oberlanders.

The finished build is a subtle addition to the Fife countryside, and a tranquil space for patients to begin their recovery.

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