The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, together with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the DNRC to meet patients and staff The Duke of Cambridge scores in Wheelchair Basketball (with a little help from The Prince of Wales!) during a visit to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre The newly installed frieze designed by Scottish sculptor Alexander 'Sandy' Stoddard Scottish sculptor Alexander 'Sandy' Stoddard standing next to the Major General Sir Robert Jones Monument and the newly installed frieze he designed for DNRC The gym to the neuro treatment facility is designed to appear as a pavilion within the arcadian landscape Complex Trauma Gym – Façade facing entrance approach The replacement building  the previous coach house to provides a separate entrance into the main clinical core The main entrance to Clinical services stands on the site of the former stables The new Classical buildings are varied in treatment and preserve a human scale The main courtyard is dominated by a giant figure of Maj-Gen Sir Robert Jones by Alexander Stoddart An arcade runs around three sides of the main court Aerial painting by Carl Laubin

Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC)
and replacement for Headley Court at Stanford Hall

Between 1985 to 2018, Headley Court, Surrey, served as the British rehabilitation centre for wounded military personnel. Towards the end of this period, however, the centre needed to be refurbished and enlarged to cater for new state of the art treatment. In light of this, Gerald Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster, saw an opportunity: to further improve the military’s rehabilitation expertise and share it with the NHS for the benefit of the nation as a whole. Thus the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre was born.

In response to increasing neurological evidence of the benefits of traditional architecture to wellbeing, namely in its use of the human scale and symmetry, Stanford Hall, a grade II* listed country house in the heart of the Leicestershire was chosen for the project, and John Simpson Architects, for whom the significance of architecture to the public realm is a core belief, for its design and expansion. The guiding principle of the 400,000 square foot facility - four times the size of its predecessor, the largest collection of new classical buildings in the UK since Lutyens - was to develop in line with the character of the architecture and park, so that the project’s scale never surpassed that of the Hall, which was to be restored in the process. Spatially, this posed a significant challenge. The answer lay in a series of buildings, grouped together to enclose gardens, courtyards and cloisters that flow seamlessly from one into the other with views onto the outlying parkland, punctuated by pavilions housing facilities such as gyms and hydrotherapy pools. Not only does this create a human-scale sanctuary away from the pressures of the outside world, where every patient can find a tranquil spot, but a logical flow of people including inpatients, outpatients, visitors, staff and health professionals, with space for further development. Beyond this, the design also allowed for the renovation of an existing 290-seat - including 30 wheelchairs - Art Deco theatre to act as a cinema, recital room, performance and conference space, as well as the old sprung-floor Badminton Court, complete with a new acoustic ceiling and bespoke audio-visual system. As much as the new centre relies on medicine, therefore, so too does it rely on the healing powers of architecture: a language of architecture that is known to speak to people, encouraging them to speak themselves.

The Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre was accepted as a gift to the nation by the Prime Minister in 2018 in the presence of HRH The Duke of Cambridge, and Hugh Grosvenor, the 7th Duke of Westminster.