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Glasgow site cleared for Nightingale’s £842m hospital


[New images] Demolition experts have begun clearing the site for Nightingale Associates’ future ‘super hospital’ project at Govan in south Glasgow, Scotland

Scheduled to open in 2015, the design features a separate children’s hospital and adult hospital set in a Gillespies-masterplanned public realm.

Neil Murphy, project director at Nightingale Associates, said: ‘The design is progressing at pace, the site is currently being made ready in terms of enabling works.

‘Construction of the new hospitals project and support facilities is due to start on site in spring 2011.’

Inspired by Glasgow’s maritime heritage, the scheme is ‘fragmented’ into three sections – according to the practice.

  • The ‘dock’ is a three-storey podium, which houses 29 operating theatres, diagnostic, outpatient, ambulatory care and emergency facilities.
  • An eight storey ‘beacon’ , above the ‘dock’, will feature 1,109 single en-suite bedrooms arranged across 34 wards.
  • The children’s hospital, dubbed the ‘vessel’, will be physically linked to the adult hospital and has 256 beds divided into four-bedded bays known as ‘Cruciform’ wards.


Previous story (15.03.11)

Nightingales wins planning for Scotland’s largest hospital

Scotland’s largest-ever hospital project has been approved by the Scottish Government

The £842 million South Glasgow Hospitals project, designed by Canadian-owned healthcare giants Nightingale Associates, will create an integrated children’s and adult hospital on the site of the current Southern General.

The construction of the new hospital is expected to be completed in January 2015, with the facilities due to be operational by the summer.

The full business case was given final approval by the Government.

Public health minister Shona Robison said: ‘The new South Glasgow Hospitals is Scotland’s biggest-ever hospital building project and will be entirely publicly-funded.

‘It’s great news for people throughout the West of Scotland that this important project has been given the final go-ahead. This will be the largest single investment in Scottish health services and will transform healthcare for patients and staff.

She added: ‘In the current economic climate, this significant investment is a clear signal that the Scottish Government is continuing to prioritise spending on our NHS to improve patient care.’

With 1,109 beds, the adult hospital will sit alongside a 256-bed children’s hospital, providing maternity, paediatric and acute services on a single site.

A new laboratory will also be built, providing biochemistry, haematology, blood transfusion and mortuary services.

Nightingale Associates' South Glasgow Hospital - concept sketch

Nightingale Associates’ South Glasgow Hospital - concept sketch

Executive chairman for Nightingale Associates, Richard Harrington said: ‘This is very significant for us, for several reasons, not least as a means to put into practice some of the many ideas generated from years of research into the patient environment within a hospital by our dedicated support group known as Nightingale THiNK.

‘The facility is designed using references to Glasgow’s maritime heritage which reinforces a distinct identity for the three main components within the scheme, in the context of a comprehensive master plan developed with Gillespies’.

Design review by A+DS - May 2010


We welcome the proposals to review at this stage and thank the Project Team for their concise and clear presentation. The designs presented show considerable promise and represent a significant improvement on those reviewed three years ago. We are generally supportive of the direction the project is moving and commend the efforts that have been made by the designers in recent months. The Review Panel did however raise comments regarding certain elements of both the Masterplan and the current developing proposals for the building designs, which we feel require further consideration.  


The Wider Site & Future Development

We feel that the Masterplan has improved significantly since our initial Design Assessment, in terms of both its strategy and impact upon the local community. The concept of a hospital campus being structured as a piece of urban fabric, containing significant areas of public parkland, is supported. We also consider the introduction of the diagonal element into the rectilinear site structure to be a strong move with significant potential.  We encourage this concept to be developed with conviction to create a site wide pedestrian armature linking existing, new and future phases of development across the site, and establishing a direction for pedestrian links with future developments in adjacent areas.

The expansion strategy and masterplanning of the wider site requires to be carefully established within the local authority’s development control system. A robust strategy for the coming decades should be described in order to ensure that future development in the hospital grounds builds upon and compliments the developing site vision. The parkland areas, in particular, must be protected against any subsequent pressures for expansion.  


We recognise the importance of providing dedicated transport infrastructure for the Clyde Fastlink, blue light and vehicular traffic. The separation of the main site access point and additional entrance for blue light traffic, to A&E, and private vehicles, to two of the multi-storey car parking areas, could allow transportation within the site to flow effectively and with minimal disruption. Further information is required, however, on how patients and visitors will arrive at the site and be clearly directed to the appropriate car park via the correct access point.  The distinct separation of routes to A+E and the main parking areas from routes to the arrival space and parking by the children’s hospital means that the decision point for patients and visitors is outwith the site boundary.  The wayfinding strategy, both in terms of landscape design and signage, therefore, needs to be both clear and intuitive to prevent additional stress being caused by using the wrong site entrance.

Arrival Space

The refinement of the arrival space as part of the distinct diagonal route, linking the two main parkland areas, appears to work well organisationally and has the potential to convey a strong sense of arrival. The current detail of the proposals for this area, however, appears confused and we are particularly unconvinced by the concept of this space as a square. The proposed form of the labs building and its relationship with the arrival routes, including entrances to the adult and children’s hospitals, does not create a clearly defined public space, as might be implied by the analogy of a square. As such, it is critical that an architectural language is developed for the landscape and building designs which both gives clarity and identity to the elements and, in their combination, forms a space that provides welcome, orientation and direction to patients and visitors. Care must be taken to ensure that the public entrances are clearly defined in terms of their presence in the arrival space (in comparison to the non-public labs building) and the recently introduced diagonal link is integrated with the adjacent buildings, pedestrian networks and wider landscaped areas.

Whilst there has been significant design development of the arrival space for those on planned hospital visits, there was less evidence of a similar focus on patient experience upon arrival at the A+E entrance.  Further information is requested describing both wayfinding to this entrance and the nature of the arrival sequence, to demonstrate that this critical area will not feel like a ‘back door’ to the hospitals.

Car Parking

We support the proposal to stack car parking in areas of lesser importance, reducing the visual impact upon the immediate environment, affording more land for development, and also removing the clutter of surface parking often experienced in hospital developments, thus strengthening the overall built form of the Masterplan. However, pedestrian links from the multi-storey car parks to the walkways and building entrances are weak and we encourage further resolution of these as part of the ongoing design development of the diagonal route and entry spaces noted above. In particular, the points where these links cross the blue light traffic route will require careful consideration, in terms of priority and delineation.  


As already stated, we are highly supportive of the notion of a healthcare complex integrated with public parkland and found the images provided of high quality public spaces inspiring. This move does, however, raise issues regarding access, boundaries, security and maintenance, which will need to be addressed. The landscape designs require further development, and should be designed with the public in mind, paying particular attention to the necessary boundary treatments and various edge conditions at the parks’ junctions with each of the roadways and buildings; i.e. are these areas open or closed to the surrounding public streets and how would this affect or encourage public access and movement? We consider it to be imperative that a robust landscape strategy and maintenance programme is established and implemented to safeguard the future of the parkland spaces. Furthermore, we ask that the impact of future development phases on the park areas be carefully considered to ensure that any new built forms are not detrimental to the success of these valuable amenities.


In general, we consider the Masterplan to have been developed successfully. The overall structure of the site has the potential to read as a coherent piece of urban fabric and the substantial areas of high quality landscaping could provide exceptional amenity, uncommon for a project of this nature. We are, therefore, supportive of the structure and direction established in the Masterplan. We also recommend that the key qualities and amenities being described are given status in the planning system to ensure that the impact of any future phases upon the hospital’s environment is carefully considered. We encourage the Project Team to further develop details of the proposed landscape spaces in tandem with the articulation of each of the buildings, as part of the ongoing discussions and detailed application process with Glasgow City Council Development Management.

Previous story (06.11.09 AJ)

Nightingale Associates scoops massive ‘super hospital’ contract

Healthcare giants Nightingale Associates has seen off fierce competition to land the design contract for Glasgow’s new £840 million hospital

The deal, the largest won by the practice in its 20-year history, will see the firm mastermind one of the largest hospitals ever commissioned in the UK.

Nightingales beat two other shortlisted firms – Laing O’Rourke with Keppie Architects and Balfour Beatty with BDP Architects – to secure the contract.

Neil Murphy, principal of the London studio, said: ‘This is an extremely significant opportunity for Nightingale Associates, which marks another very significant step forward for us into the Scottish healthcare market.

‘We are extremely excited at this news and very much looking forward to working with Brookfield Construction and the Board over the coming years.’

The 28ha site, which will feature a 1,100-bed hospital, a 240-bed children’s hospital, laboratory facilities and support accommodation, is scheduled for completion in 2015.


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Readers' comments (2)

  • Inspired by Glasgow’s maritime heritage.. okay?

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  • FLOW

    Good to see people having a go at the worm's-eye-view-axonometric projections now that Big Jim* is officially back in fashion. Good news for worms and moles everywhere.

    *Stirling Jim, not Earthworm Jim.

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