Royal United Hospital Bath
The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care has been transferred from a small cramped facility into a pioneering new home. The project has resulted in a dramatically different and improved environment in which the Royal United Hospital can care for the 500 premature and sick babies that arrive each year.
A pioneering holistic and therapeutic approach towards the new building has created a new low carbon unit, allowing the staff to practise developmental care for premature and sick babies.
The building consists of a single storey new-build extension, and the refurbishment of the space occupied by the previous NICU facility. The new-build element accommodates the clinical, support and reception functions as a discreet and contemporary intervention. The refurbished element comprises staff and parents’ facilities. The two elements are linked by a new ‘umbilicus’ which also provides an access point for emergency vehicles.
The grouping of the care rooms forms a route around the staff base which is the heart of the unit. From parents’ feedback, progress along this ‘route’ is very important psychologically; it is important that the ever-decreasing intensity of care is legible to parents.
The unit has been designed to provide the spaces with a visual connection with the outside and the changing day, and seasons, and to minimize where possible, reliance on artificial light. At lower level, a window seat has been incorporated into each room providing an external focus for moments of quiet reflection. The unit has been designed to incorporate a range of mechanical and electrical services that can be maintained without access to the clinical areas: A central, high level walkthrough duct distributes services throughout the unit and will allow for unobtrusive replacement of equipment in the future.
The scheme aspired to high sustainability standards. Construction U-values and air permeability are up to 50% better than the minimum standards, reducing thermal loads and energy consumption. Overall regulated annual CO2 emissions of about 118kgCO2/sqm, are 28% better that the ‘Target Emission Rating’.
Read 'Challenging Healthcare Design' by architect Hester Brough.
The NICU is constructed from large cross-laminated timber panels which form the structure for the building in a material with low embodied energy.
The panellised timber solution provided a quick, clean and quiet construction, essential in an acute healthcare environment.
The opportunity to expose the timber internally was maximised. This creates a sense of calm, which, when combined with the quality of daylight and sunlight, helps lower stress levels and lift the spirits for the parents and the staff.
2012 RIBA Award: National & South West Client of the Year
2012 Building Better Healthcare Award: Best Inpatient Facility Design
2012 Design & Health International Academy Award: Int Sustainable Design & Int Health Project (Under 40,000 sqm): Highly Commended
2012 RICS Award (National): Highly Commended
2012 SW Built Environment Awards: Project of the Year & Innovation