Circle Bath Building, England Hospital Design, Architect, Development News, Photo, Opening

Circle Bath: Building

The Centre of Clinical Excellence, Peasedown St. John design by Foster + Partners architects, England, UK

14 Jan 2010

Circle Bath

Location: Peasedown St. John, near Bath, southwest England, UK
Dates built: 2006-09
Design: Foster + Partners, architects

CircleBath, opening of the first hospital designed by Foster + Partners

CircleBath is Foster + Partners’ first hospital and the first in a programme of new independent hospitals which offer a radical departure from orthodox approaches to hospital planning. After a period of commissioning, CircleBath is expected to open to patients in February.

Circle Bath England Circle Bath Hospital Circle Bath Interior Circle Bath Building
images : Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

The compact design encourages a sense of community and well-being with facilities more comparable to a luxury hotel rather than a traditional hospital. The three-storey hospital is set into the hills on the edge of protected green belt nine kilometres south east of Bath. It is planned around a central light filled atrium, promoting a sense of orientation and intimacy that is commonly lacking in larger hospitals.

Public entry is from the road on the north directly into the atrium on the ground level floor. The northern façade comprises dark panelling at the lower levels, while on the south, extensive glazing opens out to views over the surrounding rolling countryside. Appearing to float above this recessive skirting, the rectangular upper volume and roof, enclosing all twenty-eight bedrooms, is clad in a reflective lattice of aluminium shingles.

The double-height atrium forms the focus for patients, staff and visitors, with private consultation rooms leading from it at ground level and in-patient bedrooms arranged around it above. The main reception point, café and nurses’ station occupy the atrium where daylight, drawn through the circular sky lights, is softened by a translucent fabric ribbon tracing the shapes. The colour palette is a warm and friendly mix of ochre and rust, with natural wood acoustic panels above, interspersed with glass panels providing a visual connection to the atrium from the bedroom floor.

Circle Bath CircleBath CircleBath England
photo : Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Throughout the building, there is an emphasis on natural light and views: operating theatres and recovery spaces on the lower level are fully glazed to the south, looking out on to a private garden. The bedrooms on the upper floor look out onto balconies, planted with herbs and shrubs, lining the building’s perimeter and oriented to maximise views across the countryside. Sympathetic landscaping emphasises the therapeutic natural environment to create the opposite of an institutional atmosphere.

Divisions between departments are minimal, easing the stress involved in consultation, treatment and recovery for patients and reducing walking distances for staff.

Circle Bath
photo : Circle Bath

Spencer de Grey, Head of Design at Foster + Partners, commented:
“There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that a well-designed hospital environment can reduce recovery times and contribute to better outcomes for patients, while providing a more attractive workplace for medical staff. This is Foster + Partners’ first hospital building and its design is democratic, putting the patient at the heart of the system in a space that does not feel institutionalised and instead takes advantage of the rural setting, the light and the views.”

Circle Bath information from Foster + Partners


Circle Bath Circle Bath interior Circle Bath section Circle Bath room

The Centre of Clinical Excellence in Bath is the first of a series of hospitals which are designed to place patients at the centre of a new approach to healthcare: everyone (whether a surgeon, nurse or porter) is a partner in the delivery of care. The architectural ambition is to re-cast the hospital building as a humane and civilised space.

Address: CircleBath, Foxcote Avenue, Peasedown St. John, Bath BA2 8SF

Contact Circle Bath : 01761 422 222

Circle Bath design : Foster + Partners

RIBA Awards

Location: Bath, BA2 8SF, England, UK

Architecture in Bath

Contemporary Architecture in Bath

Bath Buildings

The project is the first of a chain of health campuses across the UK commissioned by Health Properties for Circle, a privately funded initiative that places patients at the centre of a new approach to healthcare. Circle is an employee-owned group of 1,200 clinicians and hospital workers organised along the lines of ‘John Lewis Partnership’.

The building provides operating theatres, bedrooms, consultation, treatment and recovery spaces, and offers both in-patient and out-patient accommodation.

Patients will be treated irrespective of whether they are paid for by private insurance or through the National Health Service (NHS) under the UK Government’s ‘Choose and Book’ scheme.

Everyone in the hospital – whether a surgeon, nurse or porter – is regarded as a ‘partner’ in the delivery of health care, with a common goal of promoting patient well-being.

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