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22 PROJECT REPORT: HEALTHCARE BUILDINGS


rooms separated by glass screens, enabling nurses to monitor two patients simultaneously.


“From the outset there was an interdependency between the design of the different zones”


zone side by side is a simpler solution.” He explains further construction benefits of repeatable stacked templates; the engineering and services can be “straightforward all the way up.” Separate construction teams can work alongside each other in a “quasi- independent way,” with teams on one section not reliant on the other. This also allowed for greater design flexibility, with differing superstructures on each zone providing dedicated structural arrangements, grids, services and distributions. All of these were built with column grids spaced far enough out for them to change over time with the changing modalities of specialist medical equipment. “Having these separated zones – without the added pressures of mixing differing building services – allows the spaces the opportunity to flex over time,” he says.


Interior layout


When it came to the layout, the architects naturally began with NHS guidelines, which set baseline standards for elements such as space and ergonomics. However, Adrian tells me that as part of recent moves under its “Designed for Life Framework,” the NHS intends to capitalise on supply chain expertise and learning, which allowed them more design freedom. As a result, while the hospital contains 15 wards (with some specifically for critical care, cardiology and paediatrics) their 32 beds include 24 single ensuite rooms and just two four-bedded bays. There are 470 inpatient rooms in total in the hospital, plus 11 operating theatres and an intensive care department that consists of individual


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The architects’ expertise bore fruit in the creation of a repeatable single ensuite bedroom – developed through some of BDP’s previous healthcare schemes, but adapted for the Grange University Hospital. “The latitude we had for this project was to develop this repeatable design by testing the NHS’ space standards and the equipment necessary for each room – and optimising the engineering and space allocations for both patient and staff benefit for the higher dependency patients,” explains Hitchcock. Where previous Designed for Life projects have adopted the arrangement of ‘bathrooms between bedrooms,’ this would have added travel distance for nursing staff; the architects here therefore set out to shorten that distance allowing staff increased time with their patients. “We organised patient rooms in clusters around the nursing care in a very direct way,” says Hitchcock, “with blocks of eight single bedrooms around the team that will be supporting those eight patients.”


Heavy usage As with the layout, many of the internal finishes were dictated by NHS guidelines, which focus largely on cleaning, maintenance, and longevity – due to the heavy usage they must endure, and the significant lifecycle costs of the NHS estate. Adrian tells ADF that, as opposed to being hamstrung by these guidelines, BPD in fact spent “a long time” working with various suppliers and manufacturers to improve on the health board’s minimum standards. The architects’ ambition was to not just specify materials that could “simply accommodate” the high footfall moving through the building, but to ensure that each element would “look as good over time as they did on the day they were installed.” “We attached a lot of importance to that concept, because the environment you experience in a healthcare facility – whether consciously or not – can really affect the way you feel,” says Adrian. “If it’s poorly maintained and the materials are not delivering as they should, then that can affect one’s perception of the care they are likely to receive.”


Modern methods One of the “big challenges” introduced in designing these spaces was reportedly brought to the practice by Laing O'Rourke


ADF AUGUST 2021


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