Now in its ninth year, The WAN Healthcare Award is the largest award of its kind, attracting entries from all over the world offering an opportunity to gain recognition and exposure, promoting the best in revolutionary Healthcare design. The Healthcare Award distinguishes human-centred designs that enhance the visitor experience, maximise operational efficiency and help improve patient outcomes – whether a hospital, clinic, care home or surgery. 

WAN AWARDS hosted a jury session to look through 31 longlisted projects from over 10 different countries around the world, varying in scale, budget and purpose. The jury were tasked to choose six shortlist projects which addressed key challenges within the client brief and/or pushed the boundaries for this particular building type. From these six schemes, a single winner would be chosen within this award. Our judges were looking for a project that not only delivered the essentials of a well working healthcare project but also put great thought into the design to make an overall admirable and commendable healthcare building.  

This year’s Healthcare Award jury consisted of top industry professionals: Daniel Hajjar, Managing Principal at HOK, John Hicks, Director at Global Health at AECOM, Peter Morris, Co-founder of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and Karl Sonnenberg, Partner of ZGF Architects LLP.

After much debate, the experts agreed on a shortlist of six, listed below in no particular order.

New QEII Hospital, United Kingdom by Penoyre & Prasad

The New QEII Hospital located in Welwyn Garden City is amongst the first of a new generation of NHS local hospitals integrating primary, acute and social care services to serve the local population. The design incorporates clinical layouts and generic spaces to enable flexibility of use on a day-to-day basis and adaptability to future service changes. The building was considered as part of an overall masterplan to deliver a sustainable development that supports the new hospital and future uses of the site.

Karl examined the outside, observing: “The exterior is not a typical approach to exterior design or style, but it seems appropriate for that site and Welwyn Garden City.  I believe most people would be comfortable here due to scale, daylight access and fit with context.” Peter supported Karl’s statement, highlighting: “The attention to detail in terms of its exterior expression and use of metal in the windows with the unusual use of terracotta, works together to break down that institutional feel of what a significant size healthcare building is, it’s working hard to do that, and is doing so effectively.”

Lancaster General Health, Ann B. Barishinger Cancer Institute, United States by Ballinger

The cancer institute located in Pennsylvania brings comprehensive, multi-disciplinary cancer care while using natural systems as catalysts in the healing process. The lower level contains the centre’s new arrival of a steel and glass building which sits between the Healing Garden and outer masonry screen wall. The building’s organisation was determined based on a natural progression from diagnosis to treatment and so the Healing Garden is a focal point on this floor, providing patients and families with privacy combined with vast views of the fields and landscape that surround the building.

The interaction of the Healing Garden and theme of nature particularly impressed the judges, Karl commented: “Close look reveals a well scaled building that appears quite pleasant to be in and is well organised and day lighted.” Daniel added: “The way they’ve connected to the existing context is quite intriguing by creating the elevated courtyard garden and the richness and variety of spaces within the building is actually something that is very interesting in terms of the design.”

Social Charity Institution Padre Rubinos, Spain by Elsa Urquijo Architects

The non-profit organisation was established in La Coruna nearly a century ago with a dedication to give shelter and asylum to the needy. Later, it has continued expanding its scope to a nursery school, homeless shelter, and nursing home for the elderly, and also including a residence for the sisters who manage the homeless shelter and headquarters. It is an architectural space that revolves around those individuals in need providing services such as professionalization of work, scientific and social knowledge, exchange and membership of associations, volunteer, social networking, training and research. 

The multi-use concept attracted the panel, John expressed: “It’s a very interesting community concept. I think it’s a high scorer in my brain because of its use of bringing different parts of society together.” Peter added: “Very interesting, quite complex and unique. What I like about it is that it’s not truly clinical but it feels like sophisticated architecture serving its public.”

Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre Lanarkshire, United Kingdom by Reiach and Hall Architects

The site for the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre is located in Airdrie. Reiach and Hall’s approach gestures a low lying building that negotiates the spaces between existing trees that define the northern boundary belt to the main hospital estate. The principle of the design is the creation of an origin of courtyards which result in concealing the centre, subtly separating from the hospital grounds. The gathering of domestic-scaled spaces, both internal and external, bring a sense of continuity and enclosure. The building’s scheme contributes as an extension of the landscape that offers moments of visibility and outlook with places of privacy and in look.

The quiet and simple space provides a sense of dignity and calmness to the centre, Peter stated: “It has been very skilfully handled in terms of how you work with the context but at the same time creates a sense of space, both inside and out the building. It’s a neat environment with hidden foyers and the spaces which the people occupy.”  Karl agreed: “Design is simple yet elegant. The built solution is rich in details and use of materials. If my family member, friend or myself had cancer, this seems like a most wonderful setting to seek respite and help.” 

The New Psychiatric Hospital in Slagelse, Denmark by Karlsson Arkitekter / VLA

The New Psychiatric Hospital redefines the way people are treated and working within psychiatry. The building consists of general psychiatric, forensic and high security wards, ambulatory, emergency reception, training facilities, swimming pool and a centre for research and education. Inside, the building is organised and designed in an informal and open way, around eventful unity of spaces and inner courtyard gardens. The bearing ideas of the project include the principles of recovery and healing architecture, transparency and proximity between people and functions, universality and flexibility from the single units to the whole sections.

Karl commented on the sophistication and legibility of the building, explaining: “It’s very well crafted and though this is an immense facility, it appears to be comfortable in feel and visible size to the occupants which is important for psychiatric patients.” Daniel endorsed: “In terms of the clarity of the plan, it’s extremely legible as a building. It has a sophistication about it, there’s no doubt about that.”

The University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, United States by ZGF Architects LLP

The University of Arizona Cancer Centre is intended to deliver the highest standard of care within an evidence-based, multidisciplinary model, using the most modern technologies. Due to the sun’s differential interactions with every side of the building, the double façade on the east and west is cloaked in an outer layer of folded, perforated metal sunshades that protect the exam rooms and offices from the glare of the morning and evening sun, helping to control heat gain and providing a sense of privacy. This deliberate layering of glass, copper-coloured metal, and neutral stone forms the building’s architectural expression, which also relates to the patient experience—comfort, privacy, and warmth—while simultaneously establishing the building’s unique identity on the campus.  

Due to Karl Sonnenberg’s connection with ZGF he was unable to contribute to the voting of this project. 

Daniel recognised the use of the building’s facade, observing: “In terms of the material pallet, as it works from the exterior to the interior I think it is very successful. Certainly in terms of contextual response the solar shades on the exterior of the building, accentuated with the clear brakes and openings to allow a lot of natural light to flood in the waiting areas, that’s a very positive thing.” 

Peter identified a civic presence to the 20,400 sqm facility: “There is a sense that it is a very public building, it seems like sophisticated architecture and there seems to be quite a lot of depth. It’s a large building and it is very hard to create a sense of it being a civic building through its elevational treatment, exterior and interior.” 

The jury also wanted to commend Ambulatory Cancer Center, United States by EwingCole for the repurposing of a 1950’s mid-town American office block, converting the dated brick and metal panel building into a state of the art cancer centre. The West Harrison site enhances the cancer patient experience through modularity, flexibility, privacy, and continuity of care, creating an uplifting and encouraging experience for both patients and their families. John stated: “This is very elegant in terms of what they’ve done with it. When you delve into it, it’s a lovely scheme.” Peter added: “It’s quite an amazing thing to turn an office block into a cancer centre.” 

Thank you to all involved in the WAN Healthcare Award 2016. Congratulations to the six finalists and commended project within this category. An overall winner from the six shortlisted projects will be announced on 5 July 2016.


Ella Pilkington

WAN Administrator 

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