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HOK’s new Royal Papworth Hospital opens

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The £200 million new heart and lung facility in Cambridge offers more than 300 beds

HOK has designed the new home for the UK’s leading cardiothoracic hospital, the Royal Papworth, on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Its design is intended to provide a comforting, easy-to-navigate environment, achieved through clear spatial organisation to help make wayfinding intuitive and reduce stress and anxiety.

The hospital is designed around two main atria at the centre of the building, helping maximise natural light. The main reception is visible from the entrance and located centrally, while lifts accessing inpatient floors, as well as a link into the outpatient atrium, are located opposite reception. 

The outpatient atrium brings together testing and imaging facilities and day wards, with each departmental entrance clearly visible for staff, patients and visitors.

In addition, the design of the new hospital creates separate zones for ambulatory or outpatient care, emergency services, diagnostic and treatment functions. The clear separation of these areas is designed to create an environment that streamlines admissions and allows for efficient patient transfers.

HOK delivered the new medical centre in partnership with Skanska for the Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Inpatient corridor

Inpatient corridor

Inpatient corridor

Architect’s view

This project has provided an exciting and rare opportunity to completely reinvent and modernise how Royal Papworth delivers patient care. Healthcare design is incredibly complex, especially for cardiothoracic treatment. I loved the challenge this brief presented. The patient’s journey was a key focus for the design; this in turn influenced the clinical design, by creating a place where the talented clinicians at Royal Papworth would be proud to work within. We were fortunate to engage with the clinicians very early on in the design process. Through these collaborative relationships, we developed a user group, which helped to define the brief. The successful completion of an exemplary healthcare project relies on teamwork and personal commitment. 

Kirstin Ziemer, senior medical planner, HOK 

Intensive care

Intensive care

Intensive care

Client’s view

We are immensely proud of our new hospital in Cambridge, which is the culmination of many years of hard work from so many people, including our partners at HOK. Every element of the build has been designed by clinicians with patients in mind to ensure a caring, safe and relaxing environment for the more than 100,000 people we treat each year, as well as providing the best facilities for our staff to continue to deliver world-class outcomes.

Royal Papworth’s new location offers patients immediate access to a range of services and also helps attract leading clinicians and researchers. A tranquil parkland setting, also designed by HOK, surrounds the building and features open green spaces organised around a new duck pond, providing patients, family and staff connectivity to nature, helping with the healing process.

HOK has developed an innovative strategy for the longevity of the building, designing Royal Papworth for the future, with the capacity to expand by 11,000m². The ability to repurpose areas to suit evolving clinical needs is met by the building’s structure and engineering services strategy, together with the strategic placement of soft space. By designing rooms with standardised size, shape and layout, these can be more easily reconfigured.

Colin Glen, project manager, Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

2019 04 16 papworth plan ground captioned

2019 04 16 papworth plan ground captioned

Project data

Start on site March 2015
Completion February 2019
Gross internal floor area 33,000m²
Form of contract or procurement route PFI
Construction cost £200 million
Construction cost per m2 £6,060
Architect HOK
Client Royal Papworth Foundation NHS Trust and Skanska
Structural engineer Skanska Tech
M&E consultant Troup Bywaters + Anders
QS Skanska
Fire consultant Fire Ingenuity
Landscape consultant FIRA
Acoustic consultant SRL
Project manager Skanska
CDM coordinator Capita
Approved building inspector HCD Bureau Veritas
Main contractor Skanska
CAD software used Revit

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