The new £250 million Alder Hey Children’s Hospital at Aintree, near Liverpool was completely rebuilt on neighbouring Springfield Park to integrate both hospital and park environments for the therapeutic benefit of the children requiring treatment. As Europe’s first hospital in a park, the outdoor space played a significant role in the development of the project. Hardscape worked in close partnership with contractors Laing O’Rourke and architects BDP to advise and supply a variety of coloured paving materials for the entire outside areas, designed to offer patients and visitors with a warm and welcoming space.
Founded in 1914, Alder Hey has become one of the largest children’s hospitals in the UK, caring for over 270,000 children and families each year. When plans were put forward in 2012 to build a new hospital, the vision was inspired by drawings from children who had stayed at Alder Hey previously – with a big focus on creative ideas and outdoor areas to recover and relax in.
The main goal of this entire project was to create a bright and fun atmosphere and avoid a ‘traditional hospital feel’. To achieve this vision outside, Kellen Lavaro was chosen in two striking colours – Rood and Oranje. The paving around the building was laid in a design resembling a playground – with exciting circular shapes – ensuring an engaging environment that is both friendly and familiar for the children.
The curved walkway edges had to fit exact specifications, providing a fluid pathway around the building, bending around supplied plant beds and the park area. The Lavaro finish (natural stone with a water etched top surface) was chosen to add an interesting element of detail and texture.
The finished hospital is truly unique. It’s design and layout was purposefully created as a series of blocks to maximise the natural light available – this ensuring that everybody can enjoy the impressive views from the rooms, including the secluded and private park area. To replace the land that was ‘borrowed’ during construction, the original Alder Hey Hospital is set to be demolished, with 95% of it’s material recycled, and transformed into new parkland.