Announcement of the appointment of the design team for the new children’s hospital

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board has appointed international design practice BDP as architects for the new children’s hospital on the St. James’s Hospital site in Dublin 8.

Renowned children’s healthcare architect Benedict Zucchi from BDP will lead a team to design the hospital with Irish partners O’Connell Mahon Architects (OCMA). The team has world-class expertise and includes architects, mechanical and electrical engineers, civil and structural engineers and quantity surveyors.

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In a strong blend of Irish and international expertise, the team holds unrivalled experience in healthcare, child-friendly design and sustainable solutions. Team experience includes the Convention Centre Dublin, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and work across most of Ireland’s leading hospitals, including St. James’s Hospital, Cork University Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital and Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore, as well as work on children’s hospitals in Brighton and Liverpool.

Leading Irish engineering consultancies Arup and O’Connor Sutton Cronin join Irish quantity surveying firm Bruce Shaw to complete the key design team members for the project. Arup will also provide traffic consultancy services.
The new children’s hospital will provide:

  • 384 in-patient beds including 62 critical care beds, all in single en-suite rooms – with allocated number of larger rooms for therapists
  • 85 daycare beds
  • World-class care and treatment for a projected 28,258 inpatients per annum
  • 223,355 outpatient attendances per annum, including satellite centres
  • 14 theatres in total, including three hybrid theatres to facilitate access to imaging during surgery
  • 111 outpatient consulting examination rooms across both the new children’s hospital and satellite centres
  • Purpose built accomodation for parents
  • ED and urgent care facilities in both the new children’s hospital and satellite centres

Attending today’s announcement Minister for Health Leo Varadkar T.D. said, “Today marks another major milestone for the new children’s hospital. It’s full steam ahead. I expect the design team to finish its work in early summer in order to secure planning permission and begin site clearance and enabling works next year at St James’s. Work will also start next year at the satellite centres in Tallaght and Blanchardstown. Ireland’s children deserve a world-class hospital. We’ve been promising it and talking about it for far too long. Let’s get building.”

Speaking about his vision for the new children’s hospital, Benedict Zucchi said, “We are aiming to create a hospital without precedent, the finest medical facilities in a sustainable building, featuring a sequence of spaces inside and out where children’s creativity and freedom of body and mind thrives. It’s about delivering the best environment for care and treatment to flourish.”

Tom Costello, Chairman of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, said, “With the appointment of our Designers we now have the companies and individuals who have the motivation, expertise and experience to produce an outstanding design. Their combined portfolio includes major hospitals in Ireland, North and South, UK, Austria, Spain and Middle East as well as such notable projects as the National Conference Centre, Aviva Stadium and Croke Park.”

John Pollock, Project Director for the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, said, “Child-centred design is the priority for this healthcare project and I am confident we have selected a world-class design team that will produce a truly modern, therapeutic and visionary facility for the children and young people of Ireland.

Benedict’s expertise in healthcare, coupled with his understanding of designing for children, uniquely places him to lead this project and set the new world-standard for children’s hospitals. I have been struck by how his buildings enhance the quality of the surroundings, and I look forward to working with his team to create a facility that revitalises the community in Dublin 8.”

Commenting further at today’s announcement, Zucchi said, “All hospital projects present a complex array of issues but paediatric facilities pose a number of unique challenges because of the nature and age-range of the children and young people and the close participation of their extended families. We know from our work on hospitals and schools, that children are particularly sensitive to the quality of their surroundings, so design considerations to do with colour, light, scale, views, which are important in all buildings, are doubly so in a paediatric hospital.

All of these design dimensions will be explored over the life of the project and we will ensure that this is done as interactively and enjoyably as possible with children, family and staff groups, so that we can harness their imagination and insight.

This is most effective when everyone can rally around a compelling and simple design vision – a ‘big picture’ that is easy to understand but also flexible enough to accommodate the multiple contributions of different stakeholders without losing touch with its inherent initial appeal.

The design team will now begin an engagement process with the various stakeholders for the new children’s hospital, to include children and young people, families, staff, patient advocacy groups, the community and Dublin City Council. This process will consider the needs, views, and wishes for the new children’s hospital and this insight will be used to inform the design vision.

Eilísh Hardiman, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Group, said, “The appointment of the design team for the new children’s hospital is an important step in the journey to integrate the three children’s hospitals in the Children’s Hospital Group.

As client for the project, we are reassured in the Development Board’s appointment of a Design Team that demonstrated an understanding of our brief for the project and a shared vision to create a truly modern, therapeutic and supportive environment that will drive excellence in paediatric care.

As we enter design phase for the project, I also welcome the strong endorsement of the design team by the three children’s hospitals and thank them for their ongoing support and collaboration.”