New Paediatric Ward, Craigavon Area Hospital

An insight into the design and build process behind this successful new addition to the hospital’s phased masterplan

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Christened the Blossom Children’s & Young People Centre, this new ward opened in October 2017 and is set to be the first in a phased masterplan development for the hospital. This development is aimed at enhancing services for children and young people across the Southern Trust area, an ambition that has been partly realised with the opening of the new paediatric ward. From the off, TODD Architects had a very clear vision for the design of the project. Given the nature of the ward, presence and arrival were key architectural factors, with the concept rooted in creating an uplifting and playful building. The materiality and form of the project were designed to be dynamic, yet approachable and welcoming. TODD Architects says this was the idea behind the vibrant palette of blues, yellows and greens and the building’s physical form being grouped under a folding roof canopy which feels like it’s embracing the department.

Associated site works on this project included the reconfiguration of the existing hospital drop off, relocation of public bus stops, reconfiguring entrances to the main car park, along with additional car parking and external landscaping all generated within the context of the live acute hospital site. The new building sits on a sloping existing car park surrounded by access roads for both the public and for emergency vehicles. While mostly single storey in height, the newbuild includes plant accommodation above the south westerly block. This forms a two-storey, folded roof element which has worked to create height and scale, wrapping over the double-height main entrance foyer area and providing the building with form and character. TODD Architects has also created a new and prominent department entrance setting with the inclusion of a landscaped plaza, which visually and physically separates the proposed paediatrics department from the main emergency entrance. The new ward provides for several co-located paediatric services and multiple user groups, comprising four key elements (each including ancillary accommodation). This includes a 19-bed inpatient ward, a six- bed ambulatory care ward, an outpatient department consisting of five consultation exam rooms, treatment rooms, interview room, as well as a staff support area made up of three consultant offices and two single offices. The outpatients department facilitates a variety of routine paediatric day clinics along with visiting service providers and specialist nursing groups.

The ambition to create an embracing and playful structure has been extended by TODD Architects to the interior design strategy; the corridors are treated neutrally with accent colours to define the staff bases and key spaces. Bedrooms have been designed to create a friendly, reassuring environment. A bold use of colour combined with purpose-made, built-in furniture and bed surrounds have been installed to conceal or recess clinical equipment and dissolve the traditional clinical perception of hospital wards. Bedrooms cater not only for the patient but for families too, incorporating fold-down beds integrated into the furniture to enable parents to stay overnight with their children. The departments within the paediatric unit are arranged around the main entrance foyer which is the main point of public access to the building. A central entrance canopy formed from the folding roof provides a sheltered area for patients and visitors arriving to the building and creates a focus point with visual links through to the courtyard behind the reception. Inner courtyard garden spaces provide the ward with an open and active outdoor space. This external area offers a place for safe and supervised play as well as a holistic space for parents to relax with their children while visiting. The new paediatric ward at Craigavon Area Hospital has been hailed as a triumph, not just for its patient-centred design but for its success in creating a building that has become a key focal point for the Hospital. The completed project stands as a testament to TODD Architects’ hard work and commitment to creating the perfect healthcare facility for children and young people.

The new paediatric ward at Craigavon Hospital isn’t just lovely to look at. It’s a facility that, through its innovative design, combines functionality and end-user performance while striking the right note aesthetically. The £7.2million unit is a standalone building and the first in a proposed phased masterplan development for the hospital, aimed at enhancing services as part of an overall investment plan for children and young people across the Southern Trust area. The facility comprises four key elements including a 19-bed inpatient ward and ancillary accommodation, a six-bed ambulatory care ward and ancillary accommodation, an outpatient department, consisting of five consultation exam rooms, treatment rooms, interview room and ancillary accommodation, as well as a staff support area made up of three consultant offices, two single offices and ancillary accommodation. A staff support area is the final element, consisting of three consultant offices, two single offices and ancillary accommodation.

Global firm, Arup was appointed to oversee the mechanical, electrical and public health engineering design for the new ward. Arup also acted as BREEAM consultants on the project, overseeing every element of the unit to ensure energy efficiency was prioritised. Liaising with the hospital estate team and trying to tie in with the site-wide systems also came under Arup’s responsibility says David Algie, Associate Director at Arup. “This was quite a complex project for us as we were working on a live acute hospital site. A number of service diversions were required at the start of the project and we also had to direct electrical and mechanical supplies through existing hospital basements which required a fair amount of coordination. Ensuring those diversions were carried out both efficiently and with least disruption was a challenge but we’re quite used to working in these conditions.” David and his team never lost sight of the fact that they were working on a live acute site. Health & Safety had to be considered at every step while the needs of the end user also had to play a large part in the final design.

From the outset, it was decided that lighting would play a major role at the new facility. A colourful, playful lighting system has been installed which not only suits the needs of the ward’s young patients but also fulfils energy efficient requirements in terms of BREEAM. “LED lighting has been used throughout the new unit complete with an intelligent lighting control system. We have also used feature barrisol ceilings throughout the space, lending it a playful feel which is more in keeping with the young people who will be using the ward. A number of different lighting schemes have been installed throughout the ward to try and break up the areas and keep them interesting.” As BREEAM consultants on the new ward, sustainability was one of the key considerations for Arup during the design process. “Quite a bit of modelling was put into the design, particularly in terms of energy consumption. A BREEAM assessment was also carried out early in the design stage to ensure all early credits were achieved. Low water consumption fittings were installed and the building was positioned to make the best use of daylight. This has the bene t of utilising heat and power from the site wide CHP system, and smart metering has been installed,” said David. A 3D model was used by the design team to deliver the project. This required a considerable amount of coordination at design stage. “A lot of this coordination took place during the design phase so that made time on site a little bit easier.” The new paediatric ward took 18 months to complete and came in on time and on budget. Arup’s contribution to the project has resulted in a functional, energy efficient and sustainable building that’s also, more importantly, an ideal space for families. “The relationship we had with Southern Trust and also with the design team and contractor, FOH, Dowds and MNL was excellent. It was this relationship that helped deliver the ward to such a high standard. It’s also lovely to work on a project that has had such a massive impact on the local community in terms of transforming paediatric care.”

The new paediatric ward at Craigavon Area Hospital is a steel frame building with pre-cast flooring and a lightweight roof system. It may sound like a typical construction but it’s when you get to the roof design that things get complicated. The architects’ brief called for a signature, stand-out building who’s calling card was to be its roof. “The architects wanted to use the roof’s geometry to single out the building. There is a large amount of rises and falls on it and quite a bit of detail. For us, the roof element of the project was certainly the most challenging aspect of the build. It took a significant amount of collaboration and work to get it exactly right. In saying that, we have significant experience with projects such as these and although this roof was particularly complex, we achieved what the architects were looking for,” said Andrew Gardiner, Project Engineer at Doran Consulting.

As well as the structural and civil engineering requirements on the project, Doran Consulting was also involved in the client liaison process. Technical and progress meetings every two weeks meant the Doran team were back on site to ensure the project was running to schedule. A sloping site with retaining walls presented another challenge to Doran Consulting, which was met through on-site and design coordination. All the steelwork and concrete elements were modelled in 3D. “The 3D model proved very useful. We may have struggled to complete the roof without it.” For Doran Consulting, the new Paediatric Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital will stand as an excellent example of the company’s skills and expertise. “We’re proud of the job we did on this project. The roof geometry was particularly complex but through our own in-house experience and coordination with the rest of the design teams, we met the architect’s brief. All that work that was carried out before tender stage was worthwhile.”

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Todd Architects,
2nd Floor, Titanic House, 6 Queens Road, Belfast BT3 9DT
T: 028 90245587

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M&E Consultant – Arup Belfast

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