Northern General Hospital Critical Care Department


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A new Citical Care Unit to provide wards with a higher proportion of single rooms, where nursing staff are more able to cope with complex medical conditions.

The Brief

Increasing evidence from academic studies shows that improving a hospital environment can speed patient recovery and reduce their stay, especially in intensive care units. This formed the basis of our approach to this project, where the aim was to raise the standard of critical care facilities in line with HBN 57 and ‘Evidence Based Design’ principles.

The brief called for an 18-bed ITU ward at ground floor and an 18-bed HDU ward at first floor, with at least 50% of bed spaces comprising single bedroom accommodation.

The Design

The building’s relatively shallow floor-to-floor height dictated the use of a concrete frame in order to create the largest possible service void. Positioning mechanical duct work on the outside of the building also allowed us to meet the requirement for all service maintenance facilities to be kept outside the fabric of the building.

Isolation rooms were included to provide a ‘clean’ environment for barrier nursing, whilst maximized window openings improved natural daylight and enabled better views from the bed locations.

The Outcome

The building now offers improved ward areas, plus a higher proportion of single rooms which ease the task of treating complex cases. It also provides an improved environment for patients, relatives and staff.