SOARING vestibules, wide-open spaces, huge skylights and multi-coloured play areas - this is how Sheffield Children’s Hospital could look in little more than three years’ time.
The long-awaited £40 million expansion of the century-old building in Western Bank will start next year - and now the initial drawings are in.
Six leading architecture firms have been commissioned to design the new wing, which will contain three wards holding 72 beds and a new outpatients department.
A panel of hospital staff, governors and parents, assisted by an architecture expert from Sheffield University, have until next month to decide their favourite version.
Simon Morritt, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, said: “The designs we are displaying now are very exciting. We’re delighted to be embarking upon this project to extend our hospital and trust for the future.
“The new design will be the face of our hospital over the years to come, so choosing the correct concept is going to be very important.
“The designs put forward by the architects are all very different, each bringing a unique element to their individual design.
“We hope people will get behind our project, have a look at what our building could be like and leave comments about our future developments.”
The extension, set to cost up to £40 million - up from the estimated £20 million to £30 million the trust announced last month - will be funded by the NHS and The Children’s Hospital Charity.
The new wing will be joined to the existing buildings, creating a new entrance at the current main reception.
As well as the three new wards and the outpatients department, the architects have been commissioned to include en-suite bedrooms and try to get to grips with the hospital’s historic parking problems.
A final decision on the cost and scale of the project will also be made next year.
The six architecture firms, who were shortlisted following a public tender invitation, are Avanti Architects, BDP, Capita Symonds/HLM Architects, HKS, Llewelyn Davies Yeang and Swanke Hayden Connell Architects.
The submitted designs are judged ‘blind’, so the panel does not know which firm created the different designs.
The designs are on display on floor B of the hospital’s outpatient corridor and more plans are on the hospital’s website at www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk
The architects say this distinctive design ‘has an elegant simplicity and an informal, humane character’ which will create a new identity for the hospital. They said: “Its layout addresses operational challenges and establishes a sound foundation for longer-term development. “The design demonstrates it is possible to deliver the accommodation the trust requires.”
This design centres on a landmark new entrance building which will house an outpatients department and inpatient wards. The architects say their drawings provide a ‘new site focal point addressing the city, with appropriate respect for the area’s heritage’. They also claim to have provided a ‘clinically-excellent nursing footprint’ and a ‘vibrant, architecturally-interesting, environmentally-sensitive building’.
The architects who drew up these plans say their designs for the new wing will ‘transform the Children’s Hospital’. They said: “It will act as a stimulus to improve the environment within which world-class care for children and their families will be provided, in a flexible, efficient and cost-effective manner. “Supported by their family members and by staff, who will be able to work in high-quality physical spaces, children will heal more quickly.”
This design centres around a pulsing new ‘heart’ for the hospital, focused on a tall internal atrium, an open-to-sky courtyard and a striking green glass entrance. The architects say the building ‘unifies the hospital estate and improves circulation’, with signposting inspired by Sheffield’s flora and fauna. They said: “What differentiates this design is the particular attention given to bioclimatic green design.”
The architects say this design will ‘create a new identity’ for Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The design uses modern forms of brickwork, while respecting the neighbouring buildings. They said: “The inspiring and welcoming new entrance, centred on the dramatic ‘play-tube’, visually symbolises the importance of children within the hospital. “The whole solution is tailored both to specific clinical requirements and to the needs of patients and their families.”
The architects who drew up these plans said: “Sheffield Children’s Hospital has an international reputation for its care and treatment of children. “Our goal is provide an outstanding building to match this outstanding level of care. “Everyone will be welcomed to the hospital in the new spacious well-lit entrance, served by car parking at the lower level and shops, coffee bars and new consulting rooms at ground-floor level. “Above this are the wards, uniquely designed for children and young people, spaces that are pleasant and fun to be in and make the most of natural light.”