Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Chesterfield Hospital in West Yorkshire, UK by The Manser Practice Architects
May 29th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: The Manser Practice Architects
The client’s brief required three generic 32-bed acute wards to be ready for the 2010 winter bed pressures, to supplement the existing beds that were at full capacity. In accordance with current NHS guidance, bed spaces were to be provided with 50% single rooms and 50% 4 bed bays, all ensuite. Key support facilities to each ward were to include a Kitchen, Consultation Room, Ward Clerk Desk (Reception), Nurses’ Station, Seminar Room, Dirty Utility, Clean Utility, Drug Preparation Area & Cleaner’s Room.
Key outcomes for the client were improved quality of patient care; improved working lives for staff; the implementation of lean principles; and delivery of the project on time on budget. To realise this brief on the tight programme a 3-person design panel consisting one estates, clinical and architectural lead was set up to quickly and efficiently develop and deliver the design.
Site and Planning Constraints
The existing hospital estate consists of early 1980s one to four-storey buildings arranged in a campus style on a hilltop location. The new ward had to be located adjacent to the existing wards at the north western side of the site. Site selection was further restricted by the two locations where links into the existing 3-storey ward blocks could be made; an existing sub-station; a significant slope down to the adjacent golf course; and a series of existing surface water attenuation ponds. In addition the main estate road and main foul drainage route from the site laundry had to be diverted around the site of the new building.
Form, materials and method of construction
The plan breaks away from the traditional linear ward, providing 2 efficient clusters of patient rooms, each around a nurse base, resulting in a T-shaped plan when the support (hub) rooms are included. This rationalised plan reduces staff travel times and allows the maximum physical observation of patients by staff through double glazed internal windows. These windows also flood the wards with natural light, helping to create a serene atmosphere. The interior designs were developed with an artist and the resulting artwork and colour scheme taken from the Derbyshire landscape are incorporated into the fabric of the building. The artwork, including full-height pictures on white rock, sketches printed onto laminate on doors and accent colours selected from flowers, combine to make a better place to work and heal.
The height of the building is determined by the existing floor to floor heights, with the fall of the land allowing the creation of part-basement podium which incorporates the plant room. Above this on the north elevation the projecting bays reflect the spatial requirements of the 4 bed ward rooms behind, and are supported on exposed concrete columns. The concrete framed building was clad in a lightweight panelised rainscreen system for speed of construction and the simple material palette was selected to compliment the existing estate. The ceramic rainscreen cladding is punctuated by floor to ceiling punched-hole silicon bonded windows and glazed screens, which allow patients a full view of the landscape beyond. Dark grey louvres define the podium below. The glass link uses full-height shuffle-fit glazing and also incorporates coloured glass louvres designed with the artist to increase privacy to the adjacent existing ward rooms.
The requirement for the facility to be operational before winter 2010 was reflected in the speed of the design and delivery process, with a 21 month total project period and a 13 month construction programme. Key dates were as follows:
The client’s original business case budget was £10.3 million (£2,600/sqm) for a stand alone building. The final construction cost of £7 million (£1,770/sqm) was achieved through economical design, linking to the existing services and sensible value engineering. For example full compliance with Health Building Notes would have added approximately 10-15% to the floor area and cost of the building, but instead spaces were rationalised through a series of staff workshops.
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