New ‘Min’ art wins award

The imaginative use of art and design in creating a therapeutic environment for patients at Bath’s RUH has been recognised with a national award.

The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) and Brownsword Therapies Centre was carefully designed inside and out to reflect the city’s connection to thermal healing waters and the heritage and history of the RNHRD.

The building has now been recognised as the ‘Best Collaborative Arts Project (Static)’ at the prestigious Building Better Healthcare Awards 2020 – which were delayed until this week due to the pandemic. The award is for an arts project that achieves a positive impact on patients and staff experience within a healthcare environment.

The centre includes art and artefacts from the Mineral Water Hospital, where the RNHRD relocated from in 2019, alongside modern specially-commissioned artwork.

Art and Design Manager Hetty Dupays, from the hospital’s charitably funded arts programme Art at the Heart, said: “There was a whole team of people involved in the design, and we were all really inspired by the central theme of ‘flow’. We worked closely with patients and our communities to develop the themes.

“The use of thermal waters is an important part of our history. The concept of flow is also about rehabilitation and freeing of movement.

“We know the Min was a much-loved building with a unique atmosphere. We wanted to make the new building feel just as special, and I’m really proud that we achieved that. We’ve had fantastic feedback from patients and staff.

The RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre’s unique design includes bespoke heritage wallpapers, with cabinets of curiosity displaying some of The Min’s most treasured artefacts.

Other special features include spectacular floor-to-ceiling glass panels by Christopher Tipping in the hydrotherapy area, colourful contemporary prints by local artists including Jason Dorley-Brown and Andy Goodman, and a six-metre geographical timeline on the outside of the building by Ross Bennett.