Going public: Projects

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and The Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow

Architect/designer
IBI Group

Challenge
To create a non-institutional, uplifting environment at one of the most advanced medical campuses in Europe

IBI Group last year completed a major health complex in the Govan area of Glasgow, creating a 14-storey Queen Elizabeth University acute hospital and the linked fourstorey Royal Hospital for Children.

Like the Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool this £840m project demonstrates the recent trend away from institutional-type health facilities towards buildings that use design to put patients and their families at ease.

IBI's project comprises a 1,109-bed acute hospital, a 259-bed children's hospital, laboratory facilities and support accommodation in a form inspired by the concept of a ship docked at a harbour in reference to Govan's shipbuilding heritage. At the heart of both hospitals are focal-point atriums that combine entrance and waiting facilities.

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and The Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow

The acute hospital atrium is particularly striking, stretching some 150m in length and rising 23m with a wall of brightly coloured offices cantilevering into the space. This is also animated by cafe and retail outlets, and provides access to the clinical zones. Opposite the office wall is a 'sanctuary' providing washroom and storage facilities as well as areas for counselling and prayer. 'It's such a big atrium. So we tried to make it more human in scale so that people could relate to it and not feel overwhelmed,' says senior interior designer Elizabeth Petrovich.

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and The Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow

In the children's hospital atrium, colourful window reveals, walls and furniture are supplemented by interactives designed in collaboration with Glasgow Science Museum to create what the designers describe as a fun and vibrant space to engage patients and their siblings during their visits. 'We've tried to give points of interest and make it playful to distract patients from why they're there,' says Petrovich, adding that the designers didn't want it to be childlike, but instead wanted to create something that teenagers would also feel comfortable with.

Colour is hugely important in setting the uplifting ambience, with the interior picking up and amplifying colours on the exterior. It was important to avoid references to the green and blue of local rival football teams; instead the designers opted for red, orange, yellow and purple, the latter a particular reference to the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Colours also relate to the wayfinding strategy, with different colours used to indicate different departments along walls and above doors.

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and The Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow

Artwork commissioned by Gingko Projects is also hugely important to setting the ambience and helping with navigation, and is continued into communal and meeting rooms on the wards. Bedrooms are nearly all single, to reduce infection rates, each with an emphasis on natural daylight. Everything is geared towards creating an uplifting and positive sense of well-being through therapeutic design principles such as the use of calming colours, natural materials and daylight.

University of Westminster architecture department, Marylebone, London

Architect/Designer
Jestico + Whiles

Challenge
Fast-track refurbishment of studios that had been historically compromised by insensitive partitioning and subdivision

Like all higher-education establishments these days, the University of Westminster is aware of the pressing need to invest in its facilities to attract the very best students and staff. This was the motivation behind a £3.6m refurbishment of its architecture department, completed last year by Jestico + Whiles.

The 2,500 sq m studios occupy six bays across the fourth and fifth floors of a purpose-built Seventies' building in Marylebone. The quality of space had been compromised over the years by subdivision, including the erection of 2.5m-high fixed timber partitions, which limited the ability to provide more open-plan and flexible studios. Another problem was the lack of storage for objects, such as models.

Westminster

'Westminster felt it had the potential for this wonderful space but that it had been cluttered up and needed invigoration,' says director Tony Ling, adding that the architects worked closely on the project with the head of the department of architecture Harry Charrington.

'Harry's vision was to restore the studios back to their original grandeur with very spacious double-height, top-lit spaces, and essentially that's what we've done,' he says.

Westminster

Jestico & Whiles' design solution removed the fixed walls and introduced large, modular, cupboard units on wheels that act as both dividers and storage units, with 1.2m-wide doors for easy access, as well as providing pin-up space. A multifunction double-height space was created at the end of the building as well as a fifth-floor computer suite. As part of the refurbishment the architects also removed the ceiling panels and added acoustic panels between the concrete soffit ribs, and updated the ventilation and servicing, including upgraded data and audio-visual provision.

Westminster

In terms of finishes, the priority was to create a 'hardwearing and sustainable' interior according to Ling, with largely white finishes apart from an 'optimistic' yellow linoleum floor. 'It's a very unusual space for an architectural studio, and very successful,' Ling adds.

Jestico + Whiles is currently working on the £150m new Cavendish physics laboratory for Cambridge University.

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