Tech-powered design company Bryden Wood has completed a new hospital for Circle Health Group which combines form and function to boost clinical outcomes. The hospital is built on the site of the former BBC Pebble Mill Studios in Edgbaston’s Health Quarter.
The project reinvents hospital design by delivering enhanced patient care at a 30% lower cost than comparable hospitals1.
Bryden Wood are the architects and engineers for the new 18,000 sqm hospital which comprises five operating theatres, 30 recovery beds, and 140 bedrooms. It also houses a comprehensive imaging department and rehabilitation facility.
Bryden Wood and Circle Health Group worked closely to establish a design that separates critical, high-tech high-spec spaces from non-critical spaces (such as consulting rooms and waiting areas) to set up the building typologies in line with the appropriate clinical departments. This significantly reduced costs and allowed the hospital to grow when the decision was made mid-construction to expand vertically to double the size of the initial brief.
Bryden Wood applied its Design to Value methodology to the project, analysing multiple processes throughout the building to produce a rationalised design delivering efficiency and value. Clinical, operating and recovery areas are all together on one floor to avoid staff moving between levels. Bryden Wood carried out extensive research into department placement and analysed how patients and staff would use the building in order to optimise the design, and improve clinical outcomes and safety.
Paul O’Neill, Board Director at Bryden Wood, says: “The cost savings here signal a step change in the way hospitals are designed and constructed. Our focus on value prioritises the aesthetic and human properties of the building, so these savings come from efficiency in design not a compromise on quality. We’re proud to say the hospital and its surroundings are beautiful to look at and a pleasure to be in.”
Healthcare business models are renowned for rapid and disruptive evolution. To respond to this there is an increasing need to create ‘expandable hospitals’ that minimise upfront investment but allow facilities to grow as business models and patient needs evolve.
Flexibility and adaptability in design and construction were key to this project. Construction started in 2017 with a 10,400m2 scheme. However, shortly after it began the business model evolved rapidly and Bryden Wood was appointed to deliver a much larger 18,000m2 facility. Bryden Wood’s phased strategy allowed the building to be expanded in different directions (at different times) while maintaining a fully operational hospital with high-quality functional spaces from day one.
Given the hospital’s location in the Edgbaston Health Quarter minimising disruption to the character of the area and sightlines was a must. Bryden Wood designed a hospital that instead of building higher and higher was horizontal in focus. With the end results sitting comfortably within its green context with no loss of efficiency for Circle staff and patients.Paul O’Neill continues: “This was a great opportunity to test the flexibility of the design, continues Paul O’Neill. “The adaptability built into our design allowed us to deliver on a significantly changed brief that was received well into construction.”
“Building new facilities that can grow and change over time are a high priority for both the NHS and private health organisations. This hospital will be seen as an example of how to successfully future-proof design.”Jacqueline Droogan, Director of Capital Programme Delivery at Circle Health Group, said: “Bryden Wood’s design has enabled us to deliver a high spec, modern hospital that enables us to introduce the new generation of rehabilitation services into the Midlands, catering for patients with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, and sports injuries.
The project continues Bryden Wood’s long-standing partnership with Circle Health which began with Circle Reading Hospital and, this year, will see an architect from the practice seconded to Circle Heath to develop their estate of 57 hospitals following Circle’s acquisition of BMI Healthcare.
Separately, Bryden Wood has been advising the Government on their Hospital Infrastructure Plan, and the practice is becoming internationally recognised in the health sector and construction in industry for designing world-class healthcare buildings that offer enhanced patient experience with significant cost savings.