‘Children’s health park’ is first stage of redevelopment

New Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool opens with integrated landscape
New Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool opens with integrated landscape

BDP’s new Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool has opened, with the integral landscape design representing the first phase of redevelopment of Springfield Park, a scheme described in landscape terms as ‘Alder Hey in the Park’.

The underlying principle is not just that the hospital should be in an attractive setting, but that the landscape should play a vital therapeutic role for the children who make up the hospital’s patients. The building has been designed as a series of fingers to ensure that everybody – patients and staff – have views of the park and that the park is accessible to all. The buildings have green roofs which slope down at  the ends of the fingers to join the park.

BDP describes the overall landscape approach as follows: ‘The building is designed to merge into the landscape with the elevations echoing strata of local sandstone. This idea of peeling back the land to reveal the building is continued into the landscape for the three site elements:

• New hospital landscape – phase 1 – reveals the ‘past’ – the peeled back land forms hospital garden space – ‘ravines and canyons’ – which contain prehistoric planting and exaggerate sense of scale with patterns informed by fossils.

• Springfield Park highlights the ‘present’ – phase 4 – a formal parkland naturalistic in form, celebrates the present through planting which emphasises the season.

• Hospital gardens and retained estate – phase 5 – echoes the ‘future’. The form of the social courtyards between future buildings follows a layout informed by old building footprints set within woodland colonisation.’

There are courtyard and roof terrace gardens, as well as a mortuary garden and bereavement garden. The two gardens between the fingers of the hospital have very different purposes and atmospheres. The northern garden has spaces for contemplation and for socialising by parents and staff. The southern garden has been designed to be more active, with features including an amphitheatre.

There is a ‘children’s plaza’ leading to the main entrance, with colourful planting and an interactive water race.

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