Designing better mental healthcare facilities

Cambridge Children’s Hospital will ‘take care of the whole child’

An international design team has helped secure another step forward for Cambridge Children’s Hospital as planning permission is granted for its early designs.

The early external designs received approval from the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee on 16 March. To be built on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the hospital will care for young people from across the east of England, but also nationally and internationally, as a ‘hospital without walls’. Embedding genomic and psychological research alongside clinical expertise in children’s physical and mental health, it will be ‘designed to take care of the whole child, not just their illness’.

The design team, led by project manager and cost manager, Turner & Townsend, comprises an architectural collaboration between Hawkins\Brown and White Arkitekter, with Ramboll providing engineering services, MJ Medical healthcare planning, and planning consultancy by Bidwells. With an estimated  35,000 m2 footprint, including 5,000 m2 of research space, the early designs show both how the hospital look when it opens, and possible future development. Work continues on developing the Outline Business Case.

Andrew Tollick, senior Programme manager for Design and Construction, Cambridge Children’s Hospital, said: “I’m delighted we have taken another big step towards making Cambridge Children’s Hospital a reality. We’re determined to realise our vision for ‘a whole new way’ – one that integrates children’s mental and physical health services alongside world-class research to provide holistic, personalised care in a state-of-the-art facility.”

The project team has engaged with staff from across the partner organisations about how the hospital ‘should work’. Members of Cambridge Children’s Network – comprising children, young people, parents, and carers from across the region, have also helped shape the look and feel.

Cambridge Children’s Hospital will aim both to be an exemplar in sustainability, and to include numerous outdoors spaces – including gardens, courtyards, and terraces, to provide access to nature and spaces for play and relaxation that support biodiversity and wildlife. The main hospital building will  be enclosed within a wide landscaped green perimeter that recreates the feel of a summer meadow.

Negar Mihanyar, associate director and project lead at Hawkins\Brown said: “This is an important milestone not just for the project, but also for how we design holistic and inclusive healthcare in the UK – a long overdue breakdown of the traditional silos of mental and physical care. It will serve children and young people in their most formative years, so we have a responsibility to create a welcoming and empathetic space. We valued the insights and creativity that came from co-designing with children, young people, parents, and carers, as well as staff across the two NHS Trusts and the University of Cambridge.”



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