Ulster Hospital’s transformation now well under way

E-architect – 30 May 2013

Construction is about to start on the next phase of Avanti Architects’ radical overhaul of Ulster

Hospital at Dundonald, a major acute hospital serving the Belfast area.

Enabling works – which will allow the existing hospital to continue to operate without disruption – have been completed and, with the appointment of Graham-BAM Healthcare Partnership as contractor, construction is now beginning on a new 288-bed ward block.

Each of the 12 wards will have 24 single bedrooms with en-suites, providing privacy and dignity for all patients. The new building will also accommodate a day surgery department, pharmacy and cardiac investigation unit.

The design has been developed by Avanti Architects with Belfast practice Kennedy FitzGerald Architects. As with other recent collaborations, including Portadown Health and Care Centre and

Grangewood, a new mental health crisis unit outside Londonderry, Ulster Hospital will provide a modern, bright, therapeutic environment bringing very real benefits to the local population.

The new six-storey ward block is arranged around a series of landscaped courtyards. Each of the four ward floors has generous glazing to maximise natural daylight in both rooms and corridors, and also provide views out to the natural environment.

The ward floors are defined externally by large areas of distinctive curtain wall, made up of both transparent and back-painted glass spandrels framed in a light ceramic-tiled rainscreen.

Below the wards are the day surgery and pharmacy departments. This level has an engineering brick envelope which forms a plinth to the four-storey form of the wards, and also picks up on materials used elsewhere on the hospital campus.

The ward block is expected to be completed in July 2016 and will pave the way for the planned next phase of the hospital’s transformation.

Avanti Architects was appointed by the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust as lead consultant, masterplanner and architect for the complete redevelopment of the hospital which, at over 50 years old, badly needed updating to deliver healthcare effectively. The masterplan has successfully resolved the many complexities of designing high-quality healthcare facilities on a steeply sloping hospital site.

The proposed next phase – currently at detailed design stage and scheduled to start on site next year – is an acute services block which includes an emergency department, acute assessment unit, specialist wards, radiology and mortuary.

Looking ahead still further, the masterplan will be completed by the construction of another major building to accommodate an outpatients department, diagnostic and treatment centre, separate children’s unit and a new main entrance to the hospital.


NOW, Press, Ulster Hospital,