Top healthcare projects revealed

Wednesday 15 Jun 2011

Comprehensive entry materials and brave design choices recognised by jury panel

There are many complex factors that impact on the quality of healthcare architecture. When designing for the sick or vulnerable, numerous constraints come into play that wouldn’t necessarily be considered in the conceptualisation of say a commercial facility, making this sector one of the most troublesome to judge.

Fortunately, the WAN AWARDS 2011 Healthcare Jury brought a varied combination of opinions and experience to the table, with Susan Francis, Programme Director at Architects for Health, John Wells-Thorpe, Architect at Healing Environment Consultancy and Andrew Smith, Head of Healthcare at BDP among the other faces both new and old who turned up to offer their vast experience in the field of hospital architecture. We were also lucky enough to have two international jurors for this sector, as Mette Blicher Folmer, Architect, Nurse and PhD Fellow at Aalborg University in Denmark, and Chan Byun, Head of Healthcare at TRO JB joined in the debates from their remote locations.

The variation shown in this year’s entries was quite astounding, with some of the jury’s comments coming as something of a surprise. It’s not often that a hospital building is referred to as ‘a piece of sculpture’ yet this is exactly what John McRae had to say about the ONG&ONG’s National Heart Centre in Singapore.

Another key find during this week’s session was the jurors’ affiliation for architectural drawings and a range of entry materials. First-time WAN judge Andrew Smith was a particular fan of such images, stating that drawings submitted by Woods Bagot for the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide were ‘worth their weight in gold’.

Perkins+Will were also praised for their entry materials by Andrew Smith, who stressed the importance of submitting plans as he analysed the Kenyan Women and Children’s Wellness Centre: “What you can’t really appreciate on 3D but you can on the plan is that it’s actually at a slight angle to all of these blocks; they almost slide backwards and forward either side from you, which makes it more interesting.”

John Wells-Thorpe brought his diverse experience to the table in consideration of ORMS Architecture Design’s Skypad in Cardiff for teenage patients, terming it a ‘very brave entry’. He commented: “I’ve chaired two MacMillan hospices and there is a great danger that you either go for a children’s hospice, or an adult one, there’s a sort of no man’s land [in between].” The designers were praised for their ingenious handling of a facility specifically catering for young adults, as Wells-Thorpe commended their clever take on the ‘shambolic “study-bedroom”’.

This year’s shortlisted entries are:

The Skypad, Cardiff, United Kingdom – ORMS Architecture Design
King’s Mill Hospital, Mansfield, United Kingdom – Swanke Hayden Connell Architects
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Brooklyn Infusion Center, Brooklyn, United States – ZGF Architects LLP
Portadown Health and Care Centre, Portadown, United Kingdom – Avanti Architects
National Centre for Tumour Diseases Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany – Behnisch Architekten
Emergency and Infectious Diseases Unit, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden – Arkitektfirmaet C. F. Møller

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia – Woods Bagot
Kenyan Women and Children’s Wellness Centre, Nairobi, Kenya – Perkins+Will
Espoo Hospital, Espoo, Finland – K2S Architects Ltd
National Heart Centre, Singapore – ONG&ONG Pte Ltd
Jurong General Hospital, Singapore – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
New Narvik Hospital, Narvik, Norway – ARKITEMA ARCHITECTS

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