BBH Awards - Neonatal ICU wins Best Inpatient Facility Design Award

Dyson Centre in Bath impresses the judges

The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care at the Royal United Hospital, Bath won the Inpatient Facility Design award

The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care at the Royal United Hospital Bath scooped the award for Best Inpatient Facility Design.

The judges praised the way the design of the building was rooted in a positive and determined attitude from both client and designers towards the opportunities for architecture to make a contribution to healthcare, and that this attitude had informed every design decision.

Funded through a 50/50 partnership between the NHS and the Forever Friends group, the Royal United Hospital Bath’s new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides a dramatically different and improved environment for the 500 premature and seriously ill babies it looks after every year.

The design process involved extensive consultation with staff and parent groups, resulting in the creation of a pioneering and therapeutic environment developed in spite of the constraints of regulations, infection control and current and future healthcare standards.

It is the consistency of direction which lifts this building – the overall architectural diagram, the section, choice of finishes, and careful detailing all contribute to a calming and therefore healing environment

The brief from the outset was that the unit should be sustainable and that it should mark a fundamental change in the physical environment in which care is delivered. To this end, the team took a significant leap of faith by exploring the feasibility of an exposed timber building. This involved consultation with a number of concerned parties, including infection control nurses, to ensure their buy-in to the innovative solution.

The clinical rooms in which babies are treated are grouped around a central staff base to enhance visibility, and the clockwise circuit forms a diagram of intensity of care, beginning with intensive care, then onto high dependency, special care, the parents’ room and, finally home. Feedback to date suggests this clearly defined route is very important psychologically, particularly for parents.

As a result of this fresh approach to design and service delivery, the Dyson Centre has received NIDCAP funding to train two members of staff to further the care model and to nurture an environment of family-centred care.

The judges said: “There are particular moments of delight, such as the bay window in each room, which are designed to provide a contemplative place to sit.

”The simplicity of the courtyard landscaping and the handling of daylight is excellent, but it is the consistency of direction which lifts this building – the overall architectural diagram, the section, choice of finishes, and careful detailing all contribute to a calming and therefore healing environment.”

WINNER: The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care, Royal United Hospital, Bath (Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Vinci Construction UK)

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