A panel comprised of representatives from the National Health Service (NHS) and the architecture community praised the project for its ‘simple clear massing and organisation between front and back of house.’ Canadian architect Tye Farrow added, “The facade is one of the best I have seen; period. I have a very high regard for it.”
The Children’s Eye Centre design was bred from a desire to provide the best functioning children's eye hospital in the world without it looking like a hospital. The design works to dispel preconceptions of hospitals to create a holistic, child-focused and welcoming environment. A potentially traumatic experience becomes a positive one, supported by a clear layout giving a sense of security, engaging colour schemes and large relaxation and play areas.
The project's most distinctive feature is the solar shading used to both transform the facade and to provide the functional solution of shade. To do this, ornithology and ophthalmology combined with the study of flock flight patterns used to devise a rhythmic placement for the shard like shades of the Eye Center.
Also highly commended is the Östra Hospital - Psychiatry Building by White Arkitekter AB which came a very close second to Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre. This well thought out project works to aid the recovery process through a de-institutionalising by design. Normality was the key word to the design process for this project.
The WAN Award scheme is among the most prestigious of its kind and is unique for its use of ‘ground level’ judges having previously employed a 13 year old school girl and a Headteacher to judge the Education Award. The Healthcare jury employed the judgement of Jonathan Millman of NHS Estates to this effect.
You can now view the judging panel for the next award, Civic Building of the Year, on our awards page.