“An atmosphere of calm boredom”

For my birthday my wife bought me the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire edition of the “Buildings of Scotland”. I was interested to come across this description of Carstairs State Hospital:

In 1993 I was awarded MLA [Master of Landscape Architecture] with distinction in every subject from the University of Edinburgh. I was also awarded  the Scottish Chapter Prize. In my final year I worked on a re-design of Carstairs Hospital. Ian White, of Ian White Associates, having seen this, offered me employment before even an interview!

This was the summer of 1993. The summer that I married Sian who had supported me whilst I studied in Landscape Architecture. Sian had then completed her training as a General Practitioner but jobs (unlike now) were then most scarce. Sian attended a number of interviews before successfully becoming a partner with Denburn Health Centre, Aberdeen. At this time there was only one part-time Landscape Architect working in the North East of Scotland. So it was that I returned to medicine as a Locum psychiatrist at Royal Cornhill Hospital.

My landscape plans for Carstairs State Hospital were quickly forgotten and history moved on [as it naturally does].

Here are some of my design intentions for Carstairs State Hospital. I was determined to present a healing landscape where an escape from “calm boredom” might be found.


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