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[Group 07] Hospital for the Capital

Week 4

posted 10 Jun 2013, 09:40 by psarks1

There has been a big focus on Geotechnics this week. Designing the foundations has not been an easy ride, to say the least. Network Rail imposes restrictions on CFA piling in the land between the railways tracks and the proposed HS2 tunnel passing close under the north block dismisses the option of using piles here altogether. The final design calculations have been based on combination of raft, bored pile and CFA pile foundations, as shown in the elevation view below.

A three-storey basement has been designed under the north block to increase the founding depth so that the raft foundations lie in the stiffer London Clay layer.  The opportunity to use this extra space for car parking and storage purposes has been fully explored, helping to minimise the vertical height of the north building.


As trains will pass under the development, there is a low probability but high impact risk of train derailment. Black swan alert. To treat this hazard, the columns within the width of the railway tracks have been designed to withstand train impact in the event of derailment, with the help of a lot of steel reinforcement.

To complement the trauma centre, a helipad was requested by the clients in our previous critical session. Planning permission is required for helipads used more than 28 days per year. This would inevitably cause backlash from local residents so it has been decided that, as the Royal London Hospital is so close and has a helipad running well within capacity, the helipad at this site will only be used in rare extreme events. The helipad will be located on the rooftop of the north block, with a lift straight down to the trauma unit in A&E.

The south block will house The Admin component (see Week 3), containing installations such as the doctors’ offices, educational facilities, goods delivery access and waste storage. Floor plans for the south building and the tower have been completed.

The clients were happy with the final design we presented at the final critical session and only a few very minor changes have to be made, leaving us well-placed to complete the final report and poster next week. Can’t wait… 

Week 3

posted 3 Jun 2013, 06:28 by psarks1

In response to the clients’ comments in our second critical session, we adapted our designs to build above the railway in order to reduce the number of floors needed. The motivation behind this was to harmonise the hospital development with the surrounding low-rise residential buildings. The result was additional east and west wings, with an open courtyard in the middle to avoid dead space due to lack of natural lighting.

The structural team performed some calculations and decided that pre-stressed precast concrete beams were the preferred option above the railway, due to the significant length of the span, easing construction near the electrified over-rail equipment and minimising the duration of expensive rail possession periods. Shear walls were also incorporated at perimeter sections and around lift shafts of the north and south blocks.

The geotechnical team explored options for reducing the intensity (indicated by the coloured contours) of the ground-borne vibrations from the trains and HS2 tunnel to below the threshold levels required by sensitive medical machinery and microsurgery services. Following several meetings with members of the Geotechnics department, isolation trenches filled with plastic foam piles between the railway and the site were found to be effective in achieving this.

Under the Dutch model, there are three components of a hospital: The Hot Floor i.e. the medical services, The Hotel i.e. the wards and The Admin i.e. the offices, logistics and other sections. The floor-planning team concentrated on the Accident & Emergency and the Acute Medical Unit departments of The Hot Floor and The Hotel this week, working with NHS guidance documents and modern case studies. A&E floor plans include ambulance bays with a separate entrance to the walk-in patients and lifts with the sole use of transferring critical patients to the AMU.  The wards were based on preserving patient dignity, ensuring patient health and satisfaction and controlling infection, with the provision of single rooms and adequate clearance spaces around beds in the four-bed wards.

Our third critical session was hosted by WSP at their office in Chancery Lane. The general décor and reclining meeting room chairs were much admired by our group, as were the drinks with Chris (our client) at the local Cittie of Yorke pub after. A nice end to a week of hard work!

Week 2

posted 28 May 2013, 11:05 by psarks1

Following feedback from our first critical session, we developed more preliminary concepts and considered how to integrate the local community into the proposed hospital. The team put patient experience at the forefront and subsequently explored several options for patient flow routing solutions. Due to size constraints, it was decided that car parking spaces would be limited to discourage the use of cars. To counterbalance this, we came up with new transport strategies to connect the site to the existing public transport links, including adding a new bus lane and introducing five potential shuttle bus services to and from the local train and underground stations.

Some of our team went out to visit the site and the local surroundings i.e. the pub. The immediate area was dominated by low rise housing, with the exception of a tall block of flats to the northwest of our site. Check out the amazing view of London from the top of Primrose Hill.

At our critical session this week, we met Andrew Woodward, Technical Director of WSP, who was particularly impressed by the number and level of drawings presented. We have been encouraged to modify our designs to extend the entire building above the railway, rather than splitting the development into two buildings connected by a bridge.

A long Bank holiday weekend ahead - woooo!  

Week 1

posted 20 May 2013, 03:03 by Group Design Projects Imperial

The site: Just over 8000m² of land in Primrose Hill, donated by good ol’ Lord Mennybuxe.
The brief: To design a new general hospital in London.
The catch: A wide set of existing railway tracks cut through the site, splitting it into two.

Artemis Developments have got off to a flying start this week. Our first group meeting saw the unanimous election of Woody Malouf as The Big Boss. We began with a fun, lateral thinking word association game which motivated the team to think out-of-the-box and sketch some ambitious preliminary concepts. 


At our client briefing, we met Chris and Amir from WSP Group and both former graduates of Imperial Civ Eng! They gave us an insightful presentation and we were particularly surprised to learn that even at the final design stages of a project in industry, hand drawings hold significant value, not just CAD and technical drawings. Alison Ahearn, our academic supervisor, also gave us much support and offered to help us organise a hospital visit.

For the rest of the week, the team divided into two subgroups. Each worked on a separate design concept, one with a greater focus on the medical facilities and one with more emphasis on educational and research facilities. This allowed us to gauge the client’s preferences, by asking them to highlight aspects of each concept they liked. They were particularly intrigued by ‘The Highline’ inspired bridge design and the proposed façade options.



After a well-earned weekend break, bring on Week 2!

Fun fact: Artemis is the Greek Goddess of health and birth, as well as of wild animals and hunting… 

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