Robert Leslie Rollo, 1936-1940. 2-storey, rectangular-plan, symmetrical International Modern former nurses' home. Smooth rendered and painted concrete blockwork. Bays arranged in pairs (reflecting alternating room plan lay-out). Principal (south) elevation with advanced ground floor to centre terminating in wide bowed and glazed flat-roofed bays and low terrace wall. Entrance (north) elevation with slightly advanced centre and ends. Central doorway flanked by 2-storey vertical fins which are cut through by cantilevered canopy.
Blocking course at centre of north and south elevation with overhanging eaves to all remaining bays.
Flat roof. Metal-framed casement windows, predominantly 8-pane and 6-pane glazing.
The interior was seen in 2013 and consists of former bedroom (now offices) accessed from a central corridor. Timber window seats to bowed bays. Pair of concrete and Terrazzo staircases flanking centre, with plaster wall balustrade with horizontal flat timber handrail.
Statement of Special Interest
The Nurses' Home at Inverurie hospital is a well-detailed and rare example of hospital building in the International Modern style. Its streamlined, long and low symmetrical form emphasises horizontality and it retains distinctive detailing, both externally and internally, such as bowed windows with timber window seating, canopied porches and vertical fins, and is very similar in design to the Administration Block at Inverurie Hospital.
The Administration Block, Nurses Accommodation, Gatelodge and Quadrant Walls are largely-unaltered components of this 1936 hospital complex, and together constitute an important group and a rare example of a surviving International Modern style infectious diseases hospital buildings from the interwar period in Scotland.
Inverurie Hospital was built as the County Council Infectious Diseases Hospital and was designed in 1936 by Aberdeen City Architect, Robert Leslie Rollo, who worked in conjunction with the County Medical Officer for Health. It replaced an 1897 hospital on Cunninghill Road which was then demolished. Tenders for building Inverurie Hospital were examined on 17th December 1937 and construction commenced in 1938, with the hospital officially opening on 20 December 1940.
The interwar period was a notable phase in the building of infectious diseases hospitals as improved transportation encouraged greater centralisation of hospitals and new infectious diseases hospitals were often built to replace small rural hospitals. The planning of hospitals from this period utilised the pioneering cubicle isolation ward block, which was first introduced in the early 20th century. By isolating beds by glazed partitions, this new development of ward design allowed different types of infectious diseases to be treated within the same ward for the first time.
After the Second World War improvements in housing and particularly sanitary conditions, and improved methods of treatment as well of the discovery of new drugs led to a decline in mortality rates and the reduction of a patient's stay in hospital. The mass production of penicillin in particular, dramatically reduced the need for infectious diseases hospitals.
Thomas Tait's Hawkhead Hospital, Paisley (see separate listing) begun in 1932 and completed in 1936 set a new standard in hospital design in Scotland. The International Modern style conveyed the sense of the advancement of medical science, and the most up-to-date hospital care being available within and contrasted significantly with the classical and traditional styles of earlier infectious diseases hospitals. International Modernism was short lived in Scotland and buildings in this style are relatively rare.
Inverurie hospital originally consisted of an administration block, Nurses' home, two single storey ward blocks, an isolation block (later maternity ward), a building for ancillary functions (including boilerhouse), a pair of semidetached villas and a gatelodge. It could accommodate 60 beds, 20 in a cubicle isolation unit and the remaining 40 in a pair of single storey pavilions. The Nurses' residence contained 30 bedrooms, as well as a sitting room and study accommodation. The gatelodge was the caretaker's accommodation with an office and waiting room attached
Robert Leslie Rollo (1888-1948) started as an assistant at John Burnet & Son and worked on projects such as the British Museum extension (1905). Rollo's connection to Thomas Tait, who was a key member of J J Burnet's team in London, is significant to the Inverurie hospital commission. On his return from service in the First World War he moved to Aberdeen where he resumed independent practice in 1920 alongside teaching at the School of Architecture.
Listed building record and statutory address updated in 2014. Previously listed as 'Inverurie Hospital, Nurses' Home'.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/canmore.html CANMORE ID 107729.
Grampian Health Board Archives, County Council Minutes 1936-38, GRHB 41.
Friends of Inverurie Hospital (2004) A History of Inverurie Hospitals. Turriff: Peters.
Shepherd, I. (2006) Aberdeenshire, Donside and Strathbogie: an illustrated architectural guide. Edinburgh: RIAS. pp. 124, 129.
Historic Scotland (2010) Building Up Our Health: the Architecture of Scotland's Historic Hospitals. Edinburgh: Historic Scotland. p.75.
Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Robert Leslie Rollo at http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=203510 (accessed 31 July 2014)
Richardson, H. (Undated) Scottish Hospitals Survey, Unpublished typescript.
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