Strategic Hospital Design: a Progression of Ideas. Lessons for Improving Design Quality in Hospitals

With reference to Birmingham Queen Elizabeth, Alder Hey and the Southmead Brunel building we will demonstrate the evolution of our thinking and the different strategies we have adopted to solve complex and conflicting problems, distilling them into simple intuitive designs.

As leading healthcare architects, BDP have accumulated many years of experience within the healthcare sector with a set of key architects moving from one project to the next. As such, we have been developing, refining and testing our ideas and have challenged ourselves with each project to improve design quality in new and innovative ways.

We would like to share our thoughts on how fire strategy, wayfinding and patient dignity influence the different clinical models we have used for our large acute hospitals. Fire requirements in the U.K. for progressive horizontal evacuation and the protected “hospital street” are one key aspect that informs the strategic design of healthcare buildings in this country. When we look to Europe, differing legislation leads to some more open and light filled design solutions. BDP have refined methods of meeting UK legislation whilst achieving lighter, brighter, more intuitive buildings.

We will discuss the conflicting requirements that so commonly lead to soulless, embedded, monotonous corridors at the heart of the building. We will show the progression of strategic design decisions we have made to improve the quality of these most heavily trafficked routes. Additionally we will discuss the opportunities we have created for constant views to landscape and how the careful separation of flows aids intuitive way finding, patient dignity and enables higher quality material choices. Finally, we will show how innovative use of fire products have enabled us to open up our hospitals such that the typically dark centre becomes a light filled heart of the hospital.