Isherwood + Ellis


Central Decontamination Unit at The Royal Victoria Hospital

Sector: Healthcare
Client: Belfast Health & Social Care Trust
Location: Belfast

I+E provided Project Management and Architectural Services for the provision this new facility.  The Central Decontamination Unit located within the Royal Victoria Hospital is responsible for the sterilisation and cleaning of all surgical instruments during operations.  The site for the new facility is directly adjacent to the Royal Victoria Hospital entrance of Broadway Road.

The concept establishes three blocks set north south across the site – plant / production / administration.  This plan form evolved from the flow / process of items as they passed through the facility.  A thorough understanding of these flow relationships was essential to the success of the project.  The layout of the production zone physically links the three principle working areas – washroom / packroom / autoclaves, by introducing an open plan naturally lit environment within each volume.  A sequence of strongly defined north lights is used within each of these areas to create a bright and airy working environment by filling volumes with daylight.  Due to the ‘clean room’ requirement within the production areas it was necessary that ledges were avoided and that it could be periodically cleaned and maintained.  Structural glazing was used on the horizontal plane to compartmentalise the north lights, for this reason, as it brought the ceiling plane to an accessible height whilst still allowing the ‘airy’ volume within each north light to feel part of the overall production space.

A glazed corridor which runs parallel with Broadway connects each of the three principle working areas.  Externally the high degree of transparency along this route allows staff to have an ‘outlook’ whilst also permitting passers–by a glimpse of the ‘workings’ within the building.

Externally the materials and language of the facades are essentially modern.  The predominant material is an elongated red clay facing brick (to respect the surrounding context) laid within a stack bond modular arrangement.  Composite panelling seen elsewhere within the hospital campus is used to envelope and distinguishes the main production area.

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