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Location: Benenden Hospital, Kent

Client: Benenden Hospital

Principal Contractor: Willmott Dixon

Value: £1.5m

Benenden Hospital recently underwent a £45 million development which included the construction of a new atrium space to serve as an entrance to the hospital. It was designed to connect the various buildings on site as well as address issues such as the various level differences, provide patients with a singular entrance and reception area.

The Trusts core values were the underlying principals which led the design. Along side user group input, which were complied of various departmental staff and patients, to create an environment which worked for staff and patients alike. We analysed the space intent by reviewing the design, overlaying routes (from entry to destinations and exit), movement, bottlenecks, natural light, views and waiting time. This also considered separation of patients, visitors, clinicians and estates.

The needs of the users were also defined initially to understand who would be using the facility and any specific needs that needed catering for. This included all users of the building whether they be patients, visitors, staff, estates or the clinical team.

The delivery of these proposals were a challenge due to access to adjacent departments. Although the atrium is a new build and the completion was not phased, it connects a number of adjacent departments, which are a mixture of extensions and refurbishments. It was essential to consider alternative access to adjacent departments during the construction stage to ensure that the adjacent departments remained fully operational with minimal disruption. We used the initial space study where we looked at the flow of people from entry to destination to exit to help influence the routes during the construction phase.

We strengthened the flow through the space by clearly defining the path, which was strengthened by the floor finishes, colours and lighting. We used colour and pictorial signage to aid wayfinding. This colour and pictorial signage was consistently repeated in the departments, leaflets and literature.

It was important for patients to feel relaxed so the large waiting volume required subdivision to create more personal zones. We achieved this by introducing circular seating clusters, which encouraged some protection away from the main flow. Each cluster included a variety of seating and tables to accommodate various patient and staff needs.



Winners of 'Best Internal Environment’ in the Building Better Healthcare Awards 2018

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