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!