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Leicester Children’s Hospital Unveils their State-of-the-Art New Home

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The first phase of a dedicated children’s hospital for the East Midlands has opened to the public following completion earlier this year. Leicester Children’s Hospital is the largest stage of a consolidation of all services to a single site at the Leicester Royal Infirmary as part of a major investment by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL).

AFL Architects acted as architect, interior designer and design team leader for the project, being initially commissioned through the NHS Shared Business Services framework. The new build element of the project was carried out with contractors MTX, using offsite, modular construction methods.

The project involved the relocation of the East Midlands Congenital Heart Services (EMCHC) from Glenfield Hospital to Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) within a new three storey development. Link corridors at each level integrate with the existing facility, which has undergone a major refurbishment to bring the services up to a high standard.

The design concept is based on alphabet building blocks on a prominent corner of the Kensington Building extension. Lit dramatically with a halo effect, the letters create an iconic face to the new hospital - a landmark identity, befitting the state-of-the-art treatment within.

The full development, in its entirety, comprises a new cardiac ward, outpatient and diagnostic department, paediatric intensive care unit, cardiac theatre, catheter lab, ancillary rooms and parents’ accommodation. The co-location of all children’s services brings huge benefits to patients, their families and staff alike, reducing the need for multiple trips, and creating an identity for Leicester Children’s Hospital. The new development will also bring the Trust in line with the new cardiac standards and streamline staff workflows.

Leicester Childrens Hospital Interiors small AFL Architects 1
"We are thrilled with the beautiful, modern and inviting look of our new home. I’d like to thank AFL Architects for their work in designing these fantastic new environments and clinical spaces that all of our staff, patients and their loved ones will appreciate."
Iona McAllister - General Manager of the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre
"The enormous logistical challenges of the new children’s hospital have been met by a team who have years of expertise in healthcare design and delivery. From crafting an impactful new external presence to creating homely and playful interiors, our architectural and interior design teams have set the standard for the remainder of the Trust’s extensive programme of works. It has been a pleasure to work on this important project."
Mike Matthews, Director, AFL Architects

Working with spaces for young children, adolescents, parents and mixed families, AFL approached the interior design from each perspective, underpinning the key elements of fun and freedom, using the Leicester Children’s Hospital rocket ship brand as an initial foundation. Throughout the hospital, circular forms, lighting and bespoke furniture create subtle solar systems, applying practical function within form.

The new development was built using modern methods of construction. A modular brick slip system matches part of the hospital’s existing exterior while its offsite construction ensured programme savings and increased safety on this tight site. The facade gives the building a strong and clear identity and a friendly environment, with a fun and educational nature.

Future plans will add an additional storey to the building, which has already been integrated into the phasing strategy. The design is a result of high-quality planning and phasing, which ensures an effective and enjoyable impact on all patients, visitors and staff who will use the building.

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