The engineering aim was to achieve a flexible, efficient and economic space that could easily respond to the changes in healthcare. Themain elements are a clearly defined vertical and horizontal distribution strategy, a structured wiring system and a system of regular column grids.
The layout of the building features high technology spaces on one side of a mall and the low technology on the other. This allows the separation of spaces needing full air-conditioning but little daylight, from spaces requiring minimal ventilation and maximum daylight.
The reinforced concrete superstructure is two and three storeys high and is typically on a 7.5m x 7m grid. The first floor is a multi-span 275mm deep ribbed slab supported by 375mm x 1.5m beams, which act together with 300mm x 300mm columns to form sway frames across the structures.
The floor structure was designed for the future flexibility needed in a hospital building including heavy blockwork, (2.5kN/m2) void formers within wide beams for future service penetrations, and potential breaking out of structure between ribs for services.
The acad building has a large ventilation and air-conditioning system flexible enough to be adaptable to changing needs within the hospital and care practice generally. It provides a high level of environmental comfort for both staff and patients.
An unusual development is the structured wiring. This goes to all areas and allows additional communications links to be added without having to install new cables. This provides a highway for connecting the security system, card readers, building management systems, telephones and computers. In addition, the wiring is used to store X-ray and other images which can then be sent to anywhere in the hospital. Patient waiting times are reduced by a fully computerised appointment and checking-in system.
Alistair Guthrie,Ove Arup & Partners