Early designs unveiled for Cambridge Children’s Hospital

Planning application showcases shared vision for a 'whole new way' of designing paediatric care facilities

The recent planning application includes early images of what the new building will look like

The development of the new Cambridge Children’s Hospital has taken another step forward after a planning application was submitting to Cambridge City Council.

The submission showcases early designs for the new facility and follows the existing outline planning permission, which was granted for the site previously.

With an estimated total footprint of around 36,000sq m, including 5000sq m of research space, the drawings are an early indication of how the innovative hospital might look when it opens in 2025.

The plans also include details of possible future development of the hospital beyond 2025.

Built on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the hospital will be the region’s first dedicated children’s hospital, caring for children and young people from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Embedding genomic and psychological research, alongside clinical expertise in physical and mental child health; it will be a new, state-of-the-art hospital designed to take care of the whole child, not just their illness.

And it will pass on that knowledge to international hospitals and institutions, sharing ground-breaking research with the aim of benefiting as many young people as possible.

Reaching this major milestone is a great achievement and testament to the collective efforts and innovative approach from all involved

Meanwhile, work continues on developing the Outline Business Case, which has to be approved by the Treasury, and on the fundraising campaign, which was announced earlier this year.

A major milestone

Andrew Tollick, senior programme manager for design and construction at Cambridge Children’s Hospital, said: “This is a big milestone for Cambridge Children’s Hospital, not only in planning terms, but in sharing our vision for ‘a whole new way’; one that integrates children’s mental and physical health services alongside world-class research to provide holistic, personalised care in a state-of-the-art facility.”

An international design team, comprised of experts from Turner & Townsend, HawkinsBrown, White Arkitekter, Ramboll, and MJ Medical, with support from planning consultants, Bidwells, and fire consultants, Alfor, have been engaging with staff from across the partner organisations about how the hospital should work.

And members of Cambridge Children’s Network, which is made up of children, young people, parents, and carers from across the region, have also been instrumental in helping shape how the facility might look and feel in these early designs.

The hospital’s form is designed to encourage play and bring in light.

And outdoor courtyards at all levels give children opportunities to interact, learn, empathise, and heal.

This is a big milestone for Cambridge Children’s Hospital, not only in planning terms, but in sharing our vision for ‘a whole new way’; one that integrates children’s mental and physical health services alongside world-class research

Distributing these spaces throughout the building brings natural light and air into the depth of the plan, creating visual connections across wards, while dramatically reducing the building’s operational lighting requirements.

The new hospital has been designed to encourage play and bring in natural light

Low-carbon design

Furthermore, the hospital is designed to Passivhaus sustainability principals and will achieve a BREAAM ‘Excellent’ rating as a minimum.

The environmental impact of Cambridge Children’s Hospital has been a major consideration in the development of these plans.

And the hospital aims to be an exemplar in sustainability as part of its role in providing a safer future for all.

The hospital will include as many outdoors spaces as possible, including gardens, courtyards, and terraces to provide access to nature and spaces for play and relaxation that support biodiversity and wildlife.

And the main hospital building will itself be enclosed within a wide landscaped green perimeter that recreates the feel of a summer meadow.

The design team has worked in close collaboration with the client, but also with young people, their families, and staff to ensure the design provides a welcoming and healing space for those who work or visit

Clinton Green, director at Turner & Townsend and design team project director, said: “Reaching this major milestone is a great achievement and testament to the collective efforts and innovative approach from all involved.

“The design team has worked in close collaboration with the client, but also with young people, their families, and staff to ensure the design provides a welcoming and healing space for those who work or visit.

“We are looking forward to continuing this partnership approach as the Outline Business Case is concluded and the project moves into the next phase of development.”

Building work is due to start in 2023 and the hospital is earmarked for completion in 2025.

The new facility will be located opposite the Rosie Maternity Hospital in Robinson’s Way.

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