The project comprised a new Midland Regional Hospital at Tullamore and was originally commissioned in 1998 as a refurbishment of the existing 1940's Scott building which is a protected structure. At the early stage of design it was realised that the budget could be reallocated to facilitate the construction of a new hospital including the replacement of a recently completed theatre suite and Critical Care Unit Department which did not form part of the original brief.
The design aspiration was to bring natural light and ventilation to all possible aspects of the patient and staff experience and the hospital is therefore arranged around a series of courtyards which have been distinctively landscaped to facilitate orientation through the hospital.
The Hospital won the Best Health Building, RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2009 and was highly commended in the UK Building Better Healthcare Awards, Best International Design 2008.
The new building is a 280 bed hospital, and accommodates a New Main entrance, Accident & Emergency, Radiology; Medical Records; Out-Patients; Rehabilitation; Renal Dialysis; Operating Theatres; Intensive Care Unit; Critical care Unit; Day Services; Critical Care Unit Department; Medical and Surgical Wards; Medical Oncology; Orthopaedics; Ear Nose Throat, Administration; On Call; Laboratories; Pharmacy; Mortuary; Energy Centre; stores and ancillary buildings along with the refurbishment of the existing Chapel which is a protected structure.
The new Hospital is set in a landscaped forecourt within easy walking distance of the town centre. A boulevard of trees leads visitors to the main hospital entrance and to the public and staff car parks and a separate perimeter road is provided for service and emergency traffic which is deliberately segregated from public traffic on the site. The main entrance is signalled by a full height glazed screen immediately discernible upon entry to the site. It is flanked by the ward blocks which are clad in pre-cast reconstituted stone panels, punctuated by projecting bay windows serving the patient wards. The whole facade is composed under a wing structure which over sails the wards and the main entrance forecourt and delicately supports the glazed entrance canopy below.
The organic nature of hospital architecture is recognised with the inclusion of expansion zones to the east and south of the new hospital, facilitating incremental departmental or general expansion. The west and northern facades remain as permanent public frontages to the main approaches to the site.
Internally, the hospital is arranged around a hospital street which is divided by the triple height main entrance concourse. Subtle colour schemes and the use of natural materials serve to enhance a sense of calm upon arrival at the hospital.
Health Service Executive
Murray O'Laoire / O'Connell Mahon Architects