The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care

The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care comprises a new single-storey extension and refurbishment of existing buildings. The facilities now provide care for the 500 sick and premature babies that arrive each year. The main structure of the building is constructed from large cross laminated timber (CLT) panels, which provided an efficient, clean and quiet form of construction; which was essential in such an environment.

A timber solution also provided an opportunity to challenge typical construction methods for healthcare buildings, and utilise a sustainable material with a lower embodied energy. It was the first building with exposed internal timber surfaces to be used in clinical healthcare in the UK. The material choice also helped to create a sense of calm, and when combined with quality daylight design has helped to lower stress levels of the parents and the staff.

Subsequent research has shown that critically, the new unit enables babies to get 20% more sleep – necessary for growth and development, giving them a greater chance of survival. 90% of babies in the new unit, compared to only 64% of babies in the old unit, go home breast feeding. Mother’s anxiety scores dropped, visitors stayed longer and physical contact with the babies increased.

Key facts

Date: Completed October 2011 Location: Bath
Client: Royal United Hospital Bath Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Project manager: Provelio Limited Contractor: Vinci Construction

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Photography is by © Craig Auckland / Fotohaus.

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