The WAN Healthcare Sector Awards brought a stunning global variety of medical facilities from maternity to hospice. The smallest dental practice to the largest military hospital were represented creating a real challenge for the judging panel. A main issue was the clash between the architectural heart and the healthcare brain - what may be fantastic architecture may not be as successful as a medical facility from patient comfort to maintenance strategy.
Casting their expert eyes over the projects were Pamela Bates of Hopkins Architects, Bromme Cole of Hampton Hoerter China, John Hicks of AECOM, Stanton Kroenert of Woods Bagot and Mike Rawlinson of Spire Healthcare.
The Rush University Medical Center New Hospital Tower by Perkins+Will was the first on to the list and is, according to Stanton Kroenert, 'an iconic building which feels like a butterfly touching down lightly in an urbanised space'. It was agreed that the scheme contained a high quality interior with John Hicks adding that he felt that the project ‘had spent the money in all the right places'.
The New Psychiatric Clinic in Boras Sweden by White Arkitekter AB was singled out for its simple, uncluttered design and non-institutional feel. Pamela Bate loved the spirit of the building while Mike Rawlinson believed that, bearing in mind that this is a future project, ‘at this stage of the planning, I like the approach and the thoughts on what they are trying to achieve.’
The Chickasaw Nation Medical Center by PageSoutherlandPage made the shortlist due to the way it fitted in with its environment, according to Bromme Cole. Pamela Bate thought that the building had a quality feel and the materials were very well chosen. It was felt that it was a well-executed piece of architecture.
The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children by HKS was added to the shortlist, particularly by Bromme Cole who stated, ‘if I was a kid, I’d want to play here’. John Hicks reminded the panel that quite often we witness an adults view as to what a children’s healthcare facility should be like but this was generally regarded as a very competent piece of work for children with lots of spaces for recovery and play.
The Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital by architecture+ was the next to make it to the shortlist. All found great merit in this mental health entry, summed up by Pamela Bate: "I’m encouraged by the number of interior views and different quality spaces all with great exterior awareness…I credit it with its sense of outdoor-ness." John Hicks also enjoyed the psychiatric story that the building seemed to tell with its different areas for social interaction.
The final project to make the shortlist was the North London Hospice by Alford Hall Monaghan Morris. Stanton Kroenert thought ‘this design addresses all of the concerns of a palliative care facility, in a very subtle way. The design provides a logical plan which aids in the delivery of care, as well as a palette of materials which convey a sense of "home". A simple and elegant solution’. All the panel were impressed by the scale and thought that it looked like a well-used facility that added to the surrounding area without imposing anything on it.
There were also Special Commendations, primarily because there were a number of truly unique healthcare solutions of varying size and complexity.
The first of these was the Montefiore Hospital completed by IBI Nightingale. It was the only project involving the refurbishment of an existing building with all the architectural and engineering constraints that this entails. All felt that for a healthcare project to give new life to a building, it must have been incredibly difficult to execute and so deserves special credit.
The next is the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital Healing Gardens by Lemanarc SA. Stanton Kroenert noted: "This design provides an interesting mix of traditional forms and futuristic aesthetics to create a building which feels new, but somehow vaguely familiar. The sense of deja vu created in this design proves an interesting response to a complicated problem; how to build a sensitive new building in a way that respects its past." As a piece of architecture it was thought to be outstanding and as such also receives a Special Commendation.
The third project selected was the Centre for Cancer and Health in Copenhagen by NORD Architects. The panel thoroughly enjoyed the architecture and the non-institutional, domestic feel achieved by creating smaller houses or spaces.
The final project for Special Commendation is the Ambulance Spoke Station by the Hamad Medical Corporation. Mike Rawlinson pointed out that as far as meeting the client brief and the context, it ticked all the right boxes. It was felt by the panel to be a very commendable solution to a country with changing infrastructure needs.
We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to the six projects that made it through to the shortlist and to the four that have achieved Special Commendation. We have to also give very special thanks to all the practices that entered for creating such a challenging day for the judging panel. The depth and range of healthcare projects around the world made for a fascinating debate.
WAN AWARDS Team
Rush University Medical Center, Chicago - Perkins +Will
The New Psychiatric Clinic, Boras - White Arkitekter AB
Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, Ada - PageSoutherlandPage
Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, Alabama - HKS Inc
Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, Worcester - architecture+
North London Hospice, London - AHMM
Montefiore Hospital, Hove - IBI Nightingale
Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital: Healing Gardens, Nanjing City - Lemanarc S.A.
Centre for Cancer and Health Copenhagen, Copenhagen - NORD Architects Copenhagen
Ambulance Spoke Station, Doha - Hamad Medical Corporation