Birmingham Children's Hospital (Burns Centre)

Birmingham Children's Hospital (Burns Centre)

Client: Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Architect: RPS, Birmingham
Installer: TBA
Type of work: supply of Sandwich Wall panels and integrated glazing elements.

The new extension to Birmingham Children’s Hospital has completely transformed it from its Victorian origins.

And this time it has been designed with a “wow” factor specifically geared to aiding the recovery of young patients.

Facade specialist Hunter Douglas ensured that the architect’s vision for a stunning yet practical new children’s hospital wing could become a reality.

The design brief from Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was to take healthcare refurbishment to a completely different level with its new Burns Centre, Neonatal Surgical Ward and expanded Education Centre in Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham.

Birmingham-based architect RPS thus created a building which meets all modern operating requirements and working conditions, but which has been designed for the young patients.

The striking design and vibrant colour scheme of the building’s exterior were achieved with an advanced Sandwich Wall system from Hunter Douglas.

Each of the three very different architectural effects – the Yellow cheese wedge, the cantilevered Blue drum and the curved Red cladding – were all achieved with this same product.

Although the Hunter Douglas Sandwich Wall was partly specified to achieve this unique flexibility, it was also deemed to be the best solution to meet the extreme conditions stipulated in the brief, such as high levels of insulation, impervious barriers, acoustic performance and structural movements. Not to mention sustainability.

The facade panels are composed of two aluminium skins surrounding an insulating core of mineral wool. As a facade system, it offers one of the highest thermal performances on the market, and no other insulated panel system offers the same combination of flexibility, performance and design.

When it came to building the four-storey Blue cantilevered tower, Hunter Douglas developed brand new details to cope with the curved and angled integrated window units and to allow for the deflection of the floor slabs which support the cladding at each level. This custom-designed movement joint, installed immediately below each floor slab, was additionally important due to plans to install a helipad on the roof of the Blue tower.

The unique top-down installation of the Hunter Douglas Sandwich Wall panels helped to meet a strict health and safety brief. The installation of cladding and glazing from top to bottom means the roof, parapet and walls can be installed in sequence. It also allows scaffolding to be struck as work proceeds.

The top-down method also allows the contractor to make a close inspection of the base detail to ensure that sealing up for air tightness at the most vulnerable points is carried out properly.

A spokesman for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust set an audacious goal for the design team to create a building which would cause a child to go 'Wow'."

“We also required a building which would provide excellent clinical facilities, meet all requisite building standards and would stand up to normal hospital wear and tear better than most. It is the Trust’s opinion that the design team have achieved all these objectives.”

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