CODA Architects' new BHI building incorporates art as an aid to the healing process
The new Bristol Heart Institute provides a world class centre of excellence for the NHS, with public and user engagement placed at the centre of the design process, including the Art Programme, responding to the belief that art can have a healing effect on patients. The new Heart Institute comprises beds, outpatient, diagnostic and surgical facilities, creating a focus of clinical accommodation for the Bristol Royal Infirmary and reconciling departmental adjacencies within the existing hospital whilst providing a new sense of arrival.
CODA Architects believe that a hospital is not just a building; it is a reflection of a philosophy of care that considers and rethinks the way that services are delivered to provide the best possible systems and processes for the care and treatment of the patient. There is no single model and at BHI they developed an approach to planning that analysed the causes that helped form the existing environment (clinical, environmental and historical) and resolved these creating an appropriate solution to this particular place.
A linear atrium is the hub of the Institute building, providing a welcoming, clearly defined and legible route to all departments. It is bathed in natural, controlled light and colour, enhanced by trees, artwork and animated by glazed bridges and waiting spaces both within and adjacent to it.
The interlocking rectilinear forms of the main entrance and terrace canopy above in copper signify the main entrance. This entrance portal leads to the central atrium, enhanced by the use of natural light and trees, giving patients an immediate sense of calm on arrival. This theme is continued as you move through the building where large windows in the clinical areas give a further sense of space and connection to the outside.
A state-of-the-art Hybrid Theatre gives the service ultimate flexibility as it can be used for cardiology procedures, hybrid procedures or surgical cases, enabling the service to develop new technologies and efficiencies.
An arts project involving staff, users and other stakeholders was developed and competitions were held for specific works. These were all developed in advance of the construction to ensure that the maximum effect was achieved. Art works from the following artists were incorporated:
- Jon Blake (atrium sculpture)
- Jo Fairfax (entrance lighting)
- Linda Schwab (external walls and lift lobby walls)
- Marion Brandis (lift ceilings and lift lobby walls)
- The Hospital Porters (numerous art works)
- Walter Jack ('Endless Rings' sculpture)