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Alder Hey Children's Hospital

Alder Hey Children's Hospital

20 January 2014




The design reviews helped the Trust to be very strong in delivering their aspirations at a critical stage.



Jim Chapman, R. James Chapman Architects, Client Advisor


Treating over 270,000 children each year, Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital is the North West’s most important children’s hospital.  Well known after featuring in the BBC’s fly-on-the-wall documentary Children’s Hospital, in 2014 it celebrates its 100th year. 

Almost a decade ago, Alder Hey NHS Trust embarked on a £237 million project to rebuild the hospital into a new world-class medical facility for Liverpool.

So complex was the scheme in terms of procurement, planning and design quality, the NHS Trust sought the expertise of Cabe’s Design Review panel several times during the process. As Cabe panel member Nigel McGurk said: “The design review turned a good and well thought-out development into an exceptional one”.    

The project

Alder Hey holds a special place in the hearts of people in the North West. For decades, it has been the scene of personal dramas, and it is an important part of the neighbourhood on the eastern fringe of Liverpool. It was crucial for the Cabe Review panel that the design made it an uplifting experience for patients and families. 

The project offered two huge opportunities: 

  1. To remodel and improve the North West’s leading children’s hospital  
  2. To reinvent the surrounding Springfield Park as a vibrant green space for recreation, leisure and respite for the hospital and local community.

Cabe’s Design Review process helped develop a hospital to give people the environment they need at the most difficult times of their lives. The Trust took an ambitious architectural approach, selecting a proposal that impressed because of its intriguing design. The result will be a green-roofed hospital rising out of the park, with wings extending like fingers from the public hub. The design provides as much light as possible in state-of-the-art medical facilities and an unprecedented number of individual rooms for children and their families.





The design review turned a good and well thought-out development into an exceptional one



Nigel McGurk, Cabe panel member


The challenge

The design had to be striking and inspiring, while delivering advanced medical requirements at every level: truly a hospital of the future.

The challenges of the scheme involved:

  • Providing play areas and places for children to find respite
  • Maximising natural light and striking views for an improved patient experience
  • Improving  paediatric care with innovative design: providing vastly improved clinic areas, a new A&E department and research facilities that will house next-generation technology
  • Developing one park that both patients and the public can use freely and securely, without the needs of either group being compromised
  • Providing secure and tranquil spaces for families 
  • Ensuring the quality of proposed green spaces would be sustained over the long-term 













Cabe’s panel was comprised of experts with key experience for this particular project. It included renowned expert in health buildings Sunand Prasad, former president of the RIBA, and Noel Farrar, the president-elect of the Landscape Institute. 

The panel provided valuable input during the procurement process, helping the client see through to the essence of each design and its underlying potential. 

“The Cabe review was very helpful, particularly with respect to elements like Springfield Park, which are of great importance to the final success of the Trust’s vision and fulfilment of our design concept,” says lead Benedict Zucchi. “We have modified elements of the design in direct response.”

The new hospital will open in 2015.

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