Critical upgrading of facilities at this acute hospital by Avanti Architects with KFA has set a nationwide reference for healthcare provision and won a 2023 RSUA Sustainability Award
2023 RSUA Awards
Ulster Hospital Acute Services Block, Belfast
Avanti Architects in association with Kennedy FitzGerald Architects for Strategic and Capital Development, South-Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
Contract value: £118m
Cost per m2: £3,659
The Acute Services Block is the latest in the development on the complex and constrained site at Ulster Hospital. The architectural team of Avanti with KFA has been involved here since early masterplanning work began in the mid-noughties. The long-overdue and critical upgrading of the facilities of the acute hospital is an ongoing project that needs to to address ever-evolving modes of healthcare practice and statutory changes. In providing individual rooms for critical care and a new emergency suite, the newly completed block provides a nationally significant reference for the provision of healthcare environments.
The design is developed with a rational plan that affords waiting spaces good access to daylight, as well as good visual connectivity between the reception and waiting areas and the circulation. The rational layout allows for straightforward wayfinding that belies a more complex level of circulation control where critical care, staff, patient and visitor flows are kept separate, both for reasons of dignity and infection control. The plan is also developed with clear strategies for services distribution, the long-term maintenance and management of these facilities being key to the ability to maintain uninterrupted high-quality clinical space.
The importance of detailed brief development with the clinicians and technical nursing staff is clearly in the forefront of the design and critical to the delivery of a high standard of patient care. The jury’s visit made clear the incredibly granular level of detail involved in the design of the spaces – an essential aspect of any good healthcare architecture, but here with the involvement and engagement of the client team particularly evident throughout.
As a project that has gone through a long period of development, the consistent targeting of higher than statutory minimum levels of airtightness and thermal design has delivered a building that performs well, exceeding the standard of the current Northern Irish Building Regulations.
This is an example of architects working closely with a complex and extensive client team to deliver excellence in healthcare design. The overlapping requirements of the internal environments for critical care, healthcare professionals, patients and visitors are resolved in a seemingly effortless plan that belies the intelligence, diligence, and graft involved in detailed brief development and the synthesis of a successful architectural response.
See the rest of the RIBA RSUA Northern Ireland winners here. And all the RIBA Regional Awards here.
To find out more about the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com
Contractor: Graham Bam Healthcare Partnership joint venture
Structural engineer: Baker Hicks Ltd
Environmental / M&E engineer: Cundall
Cost consultant: Capita Property & Infrastructure