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Designing for Health (2005)

Architecture, Art and Design at the James Cook University Hospital

The Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine (CAHHM) at the University of Durham carried out a detailed evaluation of the arts project at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough (South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust).

The hospital building has 1,000 beds and is one of the largest tertiary hospitals in Europe. The aims of the arts project were:

  • To convey a sense of quality healthcare
  • To provide a caring, sympathetic and relaxing atmosphere
  • To inspire confidence and promote well-being
  • To create a lasting impression of quality
  • To help orientation
  • To build community links

There were 16 commissioned artworks as well as 4 artist residencies, loaned and donated artworks and live performances in the 'Mall'. The overall theme was the voyages of Captain James Cook; for example, Fiona Rutherford made artwork for the corridor from the children's ward to theatres, on a theme of the plants Cook collected on his voyages. The hospital is now part of the local 'Cook Heritage Trail'.

The arts budget was over UKP500,000 and commissioned artworks included works in glass by Bridget Jones, Chloe Buck, Josie Kyme and Laura Johnston, sculpture by Andrew Burton and Christopher Lisney, an inlaid floor by Lee Brewster and a clock by David Williams.

The aim of the study was "to evaluate the extent to which a planned approach to architecture, art and design in a major tertiary care NHS hospital has a beneficial effect on patients' and visitors' experiences of the hospital and on patient and staff wellbeing." The study was funded by NHS Estates and South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust

Follow this link to download the CAHHM study as an Adobe Acrobat document: 1.84Mb

Further details: Dr Jane Macnaughton; Tel: +44 (0)191 334 2913;

Email: [email protected].

University of Durham
Dawson Building
South Road
Durham DH1 3LE, UK


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