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Circle Birmingham Hospital

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Bryden Wood design world-class healthcare buildings which offer an enhanced patient experience, and a 30% cost saving compared to typical hospitals.

We are the architects and engineers of a new hospital in Edgbaston, Birmingham (on the former site of the BBC’s Pebble Mill), which opened in September 2020. This best-in-class hospital has five operating theatres, ten first stage recovery beds, 20 second stage recovery beds, 20 hospital bedrooms and 120 bedrooms for rehabilitation patients. It also has a comprehensive imaging department and a large physiotherapy capacity for elective care and rehabilitation services.

Bryden Wood and Circle Health worked closely together to establish an initial nucleus design that separated critical, high-tech high-spec space from non-critical spaces (such as consulting rooms and reception waiting areas) to set up the building typologies in line with the appropriate clinical departments. This allowed us to reduce costs and achieve expansion with minimum disturbance to the hospital when the decision was made to expand vertically and double the size of the hospital to 18,000 sqm.

We applied our Design to Value methodology to the project, analysing multiple processes throughout the building and producing a rationalised design to deliver efficiency and value. For example, all the clinical, operating and recovery areas are located on one floor, therefore avoiding vertical circulation of clinical staff, and improving efficiencies. We optimised the design to improve clinical outcomes and safety by applying the learnings from our research into best case departmental adjacencies – including analysis on patient and staff flow – from our previous award-winning Circle Reading Hospital.

Future proofing was a key consideration. The original client brief required significant future expansion of a much smaller nucleus hospital, allowing for a deferred CAPEX strategy on day one. We were tasked with devising and agreeing with Birmingham City Council a design and planning strategy which was as acceptable for the day one operation (c. 6,500 sqm.) as it would be for the final phase of expansion (18,000 sqm.). Shortly after contract award, the client chose to proceed with the full scope of allowable future expansion, meaning that the hospital demonstrated its future expansion capabilities – during construction of the initial phase.

It is important, of course, never to forget what the main purpose of a hospital is, and so patient experience was always our main focus. The hospital delivers absolutely on that front – it is beautiful to look at and a pleasure to be in. Our focus on value includes the aesthetic and human properties of the building, and the cost savings come not from compromise on quality, but efficiency in design.

Overall, this represents a step change in hospital design, delivering enhanced patient and staff experience, as well as significant cost savings. The typical cost of NHS hospital stock in the UK (Midlands) is £3,000 - £3,500 per sqm. For this building, we achieved a per sqm cost of £2,333 – a saving in the region of 30%. 

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100 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8AL