£40m hospital wing ready to take flight

concertBS''One of six designs being considered for Sheffield Children's Hospital's �40m extension.
concertBS''One of six designs being considered for Sheffield Children's Hospital's �40m extension.

THE shape and appearance of a proposed £40m wing for Sheffield Children’s Hospital are unveiled today (Thursday).

Construction is due to start next spring after the designs of London based Avanti Architects were selected from a shortlist of six.

The winning concept is being described as “light and airy”, with a circular “play tower” running floor to ceiling in the main reception. One priority was more parking space.

Simon Morritt, chief executive at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were impressed by the understanding Avanti had of the project team’s aims and their commitment to produce a design which is integrated with the current hospital. The design we’ve chosen will bring our ward facilities up to 21st century standards.”

Most of the money is due to come from the Government, although there will also be a contribution from The Children’s Hospital Charity.

The full business case has been approved by the trust’s board, but there are still hurdles to overcomes. The project is awaiting assessment by the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, Monitor, and some the details of the design have yet to be finalised. The approval will be needed by the council.

However, the timetable envisages that Sheffield will have a bigger and more-up-to-date Children’s Hospital by spring 2015.

A panel of 22, including staff, patients, parents, governors and directors, received presentations from six architectural practices over two days, and considered issues such as patient experience, clinical functionality and design, before Avanti, whose clients include the University of Sheffield, were selected.

The proposed development will include a high percentage of single rooms providing en-suite facilities for parents staying with their child, an inner court yard play area and a drop- off point outside.

Mr Morritt said: “The architects in the competition came up with a variety of innovative ideas and the panel was very impressed with the quality of the proposals. Avanti’s design, however, came out top on all the scores and we are content that it will be a flagship building for the hospital and Sheffield.”

Project manager John Petty said: “The different architects majored on different elements and all the solutions could actually work.

“The designs were very different and all of them had strengths and weaknesses – that was the nature of the competition. But what we had to do was find the best option for the trust. Avanti’s design met our specification and we were impressed by their team.”