I haven’t actually seen this project, but I looked at it in some detail when it was entered for BDP’s internal sustainability awards.
At a time when the future of health buildings in this country looks ‘challenging’ to say the least, this seems to be a project that ticks all the right boxes. It is imaginative, and makes the most of its lovely forest setting.
While the idea of ward blocks coming off a common street is scarcely new, in this case the way that the wards splay out like fingers, and the use of large windows at the end of the blocks, makes each seem like an island in the forest. I am also impressed by the use of timber, a sustainable and appropriate material that is still under-used in the health sector.
It is particularly important, of course, that a hospital facility for children should be of human scale and not frightening especially when, as here, it is also offering high-tech medical solutions. But adults would also benefit from such a humane approach.
The details of this building’s design reflect the special circumstances of its situation, but it also has wider lessons to teach about designing for healthcare.