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20 Years at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary: Architecture For Life

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This year, AFL is celebrating our 20th anniversary working with Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust. During this time, we have seen first-hand the dedication of medical professionals we work alongside every day.

See what we're doing to help all our NHS clients here.

Many of our architects and technicians started their careers working on Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. The programme of works has seen our team navigate complex isolations, redevelop and refurbish wards, improve wayfinding and layouts, as well as having an integral role in the look and feel of the hospital itself.

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"We have developed a fantastic relationship with the AFL team over the last 20 years. They have a thorough understanding of the needs of our staff, patients and wider estates team. Often their work is performed under very difficult conditions, but their solutions for phasing and space use have been exemplary, keeping everyone safe. A benchmark for others."
Jammal Mohammed, Trust Project Manager, Estates Department, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary

The upgrade to the operating theatres, first built in the 1960s, was a major 3-year project for the Trust.

This complex commission necessitated special care to isolate each theatre so that the work could be carried out while the surrounding rooms continued to be in use. Our solution was to build a temporary site outside the hospital, from which a bridge was constructed to enter the theatres through the windows.

The sloping landscape and original layout and structure of the hospital lent itself to a unique set of challenges. The process of individually upgrading the theatres also meant the project took three years but ensured the hospital could continue to operate with no risk to patients.

Similarly, the renovation of the main entrance was another challenging live project.

Performed overnight over several months, the planning of the works meant the hospital could continue business as normal.

The finished work establishes itself as the centrepiece of the hospital; a welcoming entrance that lights up brilliantly at night.

"AFL’s intricate understanding of the HRI, built up over so many years, has resulted in so much improvement and modernisation to our environment. We have a hospital where patients and visitors are provided with exceptional healthcare and the staff are proud to work. Long may it continue."
Paul Gilling, Senior Estates Officer, Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions Ltd

Rooms within the hospital have been carefully crafted within the existing layout to maximise the use of space.

Our interiors team has created bespoke pieces of furniture to engage with areas that would have otherwise gone to waste. One of the areas in which this has worked particularly well are in The Macmillan offices in Block 1, that enjoy wide bay windows.

Instead of leaving a large windowsill, our team created slanted shelving with hidden storage for staff. Not only is it a functional use of space, but it is aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, the chemotherapy unit, oncology ward, and ward 8’s reception space for files were built into the area behind the desk, allowing the receptionists their own discreet filing stations.

"It was important for us to utilise the space in ways that would be beneficial to both staff and patients. This meant, in part, creating discreet places in which patients could store their personal belongings for peace of mind, or staff can store documents out of the way. Every element was created with the user in mind through long and thorough discussions with staff. We wanted to ensure we were enhancing both the space and the experience."
Wendy Short, Senior Interior Designer

HRI leaves a lasting impression, from the bold entrance and finishes to the prominent and personal touches.

The vast number of projects we have delivered has created a sense of continuity throughout. Coloured rooms and corridors aid in wayfinding for patients with dementia. The distinct differences in tone between the walls and the floor have also minimised patient falls.

Most of our team’s projects also have an artwork piece within, usually in the form of a full wall mural. These range from underwater scenery to local images of Huddersfield, creating a profound sense of place throughout the hospital.

"The staff are thrilled with the end result, especially the wall decorations which include a woodland scene, a fish tank, maps and butterfly pictures painted by the staff’s children, and team members. Patients and staff are amazed and delighted and all of the team is very proud to be able to offer the patients care on this new facility."
Jackie Swire, Lead Chemotherapy specialist nurse, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary
Huddersfield Royal Infirmary AFL Architects 10
"Our work with the Trust over the years has resulted in vast improvements for patients, a thorough understanding of the hospital and its needs, and the development of a deeply knowledgeable team of passionate, forward-thinking, and creative people. I’m incredibly proud to have led many of these projects and look forward to many more in the future."
Neil Peak, Architect, AFL Architects

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