Royal Stoke University Hospital

Colour's guiding design principle is to fully exploit the link between contact with nature and health/wellbeing. The practice's holistic approach to landscaping uses spaces across the hospital site to create a green infrastructure that includes three principal spaces as site organizing elements. Colour led the development of the public realm strategy and masterplan coordination over a 12 year planning and construction period.

The North Staffs NHS Trust required a new masterplan for the City General campus incorporating a series of new medical buildings to replace the old, clear and accessible vehicle and pedestrian routes, 2000 car park spaces, and all within a relaxing landscape setting that helped make users’ experience relaxed and as stress free as possible.

Citing the proven research findings of Dr Roger Ulrich, which saw gallbladder patient benefit significantly from a view of nature, we developed a landscape philosophy whereby nature is designed into the heart of the hospital campus. We worked closely with Ryder HKS architects to develop a close connection between internal and external environments. The concept of a central green spine was developed in the form of a series of gardens and green spaces connecting with the internal glazed gallery walkway with views over the gardens. The pedestrian routes from the car park zones connecting into this green spine providing clear direction to the main entrance of the hospital.

An important aspect of the landscape design was to create a striking and welcoming arrival landscape to instil confidence in patients and visitors. The New Hospital Piazza provides a contemporary arrival space to the main entrance with garden spaces, pedestrian links through, covered walkways and a drop off. Through the planting it has strong seasonal interest, scent and colour. During darkness the lighting makes the space inviting and safe to use. The space caters for 7,000+ users every day. The Piazza gardens are aligned to provide attractive views from the 2nd floor restaurant enhancing the indoor outdoor experience. The finished product exceeds expectations providing a stunning piece of public realm. What is not obvious to users is that one third of the Piazza is sat on a podium landscape with the functioning hospital working underneath. A significant number of technical difficulties were overcome to create this seamless landscape.

The project was subject to a rigorous NHS Heathcare design review and described the masterplan as ‘illustrating beautifully how architecture has been developed closely with landscape architecture - it is landscape architecture integrated with infrastructure development’. Susan Francis, chair, AEDET Review Panel.

The site now works more efficiently for the Trust, users and staff, with clear natural wayfinding. From the car parks users can easily navigate their way to the hospital entrances along tree lined walkways and gardens with resting points along all routes. Views from waiting rooms are aligned to capture the wider landscape and gardens creating a relaxing distraction and topic of conversation for patients.

The environmental quality of the site has seen a significant change; the mature trees around the Listed Buildings area were all protected and retained, new native woodland planting enhances the edges of the site connecting to the wider green infrastructure, new Lime tree avenues line the roads and walkways creating green canopy fingers connecting to the woodlands, and native hedges buffer car parking cells. The gardens provide more ornamental planting with strong seasonal interest and food for bees and insects. The whole site is robustly designed to meet the rigorous 30 year PFI lifespan requirements.

"Colour has formed an intrinsic part of the design team from the outset. Their continual involvement has meant that the landscape proposals formed a natural element to the campus redevelopment. The entire site masterplan, including the basic building footprints, has been the result of the team taking a holistic view of the campus. The external landscape design provides clear passive wayfinding with important public spaces as well as private areas for contemplation or views. This is reflected in the orientation and design of the associated interior spaces.”

John Haworth, architectural director, RyderHKS    

Client

Royal Stoke University Hospital

Project Team

Ryder HKS/HKS Architects, WSP, GVA Grimley, Cyril Sweett

Location

Newcastle-Under-Lyme

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