Leeds General Infirmary – Hospital of the Future


Size/ 94.000 m2
Competition/ international competition
Status/ ongoing
Client/ Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
In Association/ Perkins&Will, Penoyre & Prasad
Landscape Architect/ Kragh&Berglund
Engineer/ WSP
Sustainability/ targeting BREEAM 2018 Excellent and WELL V2 Platinum

The new state-of-the-art hospitals – a new adults hospital and new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital - will be situated on a 94,000m2 site in the heart of Leeds. Patient care and flexibility is at the core of the design, and the hospital development will be one of 40 new hospitals that the British Government has committed to build by 2030 as part of the New Hospital Programme (NHP). The hospital will become the biggest in its generation uniting Adult, Children’s and Maternity hospitals in one building and will offer the newest treatment methods in an innovative and user-oriented design.

Surrounded by historic buildings, a strong focus on colour and material choices ensures that the new hospital will become a well-integrated unit.

Situated at the Leeds General Infirmary site, next to the existing hospital, connections across the different institutions in the area including the Innovation District, Leeds University Campus, and Millennium Square, create a natural and cohesive flow through the area.

The hospital building is shaped by two defining elements; a welcoming, slightly elevated podium and a sculptural superstructure whose geometry ensures maximum daylight exposure and magnificent views of Leeds. Thus, the hospital enters a dialogue with its surroundings – the close urban setting as well as the more remote landscape, which is reflected in the organic shape of the building, rooting the modern hospital in a local context. The Leeds General Infirmary site has offered hospital services throughout the past 250 years. The new hospital will carry on this tradition in a modern setting and act as a flagship for future hospital design.

The hospitals contemporary design facilitates innovation, technology and research in an environment, which encourages collaboration across different professions. It aims at inspiring the approximately 8000 employees in their daily work and thereby offer the best treatment methods possible. The hospital is a leader in childhood cancer treatment and thus receive patients from all over the country.

The design of the hospital not only focuses on optimising workstreams and creating a good working environment that stimulates knowledge sharing but equally important will create an environment which offers an alternative to the clinical world of medicine and creates space for well-being. Healing architecture is deeply rooted in the Scandinavian design tradition as research shows that our physical surroundings greatly impact our mental and bodily well-being. Spaces which offer a comfortable and generous setting can act as catalysts for various activities and socialising; as breathing spaces, where illness and stress become secondary. Indoors, patient bedrooms are adjustable to fit individual preferences, while common rooms are designed to shape friendships and be used for non-illness related purposes.

Access to green terraces allows for recreational activities and contemplation or physical exercise and play. Hence, the design concept reflects on the original hospital, inaugurated by Prince Albert in 1869, where access to nature was essential in securing that patients got plenty of daylight and fresh air, as part of their healing process.

Leeds is among the greenest cities in the UK. Located in an urban context, the hospital’s many outdoor terraces and the plaza in front will further contribute to the city’s green profile and to biodiversity in the area by using native planting.

The central plaza will act as point of arrival as well as a new public space that invites the citizens of Leeds to use the area for activities and social gatherings. In this way, the hospital ground is not only reserved for hospital users but opens up to everyone and gives something back to the city.

The holistic approach to sustainability and circularity, characterising many of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects’ projects, has been incorporated from the very beginning. By designing an adaptable building that will be able to meet the requirements of a modern healthcare system, the design team has created a futureproof hospital that can adjust to changes in demands and technological advances.

The façade is designed as a modular system with the possibility of prefabrication. Heat recovery, high insulation values, low air leakage, solar panels and significant on-site energy production is part of the solutions that contribute to a sustainable BREEAM 2018 Excellent and WELL V2 Platinum certified hospital. A hospital which, additionally, is projected as a net zero ready building.

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