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2 November 2015

Allison Wagner and Stephen Herbert Discuss HOK’s Design of Papworth Hospital in United Kingdom

New Papworth Hospital

In a Building Construction Design article, Allison Wagner and Stephen Herbert, designers based in HOK’s London office, discuss factors that drove the 21st-century design of the Papworth Hospital redevelopment near Cambridge, UK.

HOK is partnered with Skanska for the public-private partnership to redevelop the 310-bed Papworth Hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

New Papworth Hospital“‘The [Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust] told us that we won the project on our clinical design,’ said Wagner, regional Healthcare leader at HOK. ‘Our main brief was to provide a state-of-the-art hospital for the 21st century, where they can practice medicine that is in line with the top hospitals in the world.’”

“HOK’s overall layout of the new hospital supports the Trust’s care model of creating what are described as ‘discrete zones’ for ambulatory or outpatient care, emergency services, and diagnostic and treatment functions.

“Each inpatient floor has two nursing units in an innovative double corridor design that results in a compact, accessible layout. This is aimed at reducing travel distances and direct sightlines to all patients from the nurses’ stations.

“‘The vision that the Trust had was that the patients are always visible to staff. There are four multi-bed wards but its predominantly single rooms,’ said Herbert, an HOK senior project architect.”

“The first floor is the main treatment area, while the third to fifth floors are all inpatient acute care wards. On completion, the seven-story building will measure 33,000 square feet and include seven operating theaters and five catheterisation labs.”


“The structural design uses high-performance engineering systems and strategic placement of flexible support spaces that means the hospital can accommodate future growth of up to 118,000 square feet. To support this longer-term flexibility and maximize energy efficiency, building information modelling (BIM) is being used.”

“Sustainability is at the heart of the design with carbon emissions reduced through the specification of a large-scale ground-source heat pump system. … The building is designed to achieve an EPC ‘B’ energy rating. If this is successful, Papworth will be the first hospital in the UK to achieve this measure.”

Building Construction Design