Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Healthcare / Arts and health

European Healthcare Design 2017

The art of care – integrated art and design at the New QEII Hospital

By Jacqui Bunce, Mark Rowe and Louisa Williams 24 Jul 2017 0

Integrating art and design for wellbeing into the architectural design concept for the award-winning New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, UK – from the initial design competition through to completion of the building.

Download the slides for this video presentation


The development of the New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, employed an engagement process with an extensive stakeholder group, including patients, staff and third-sector representatives, and particular reference to the integrated design and arts strategy. Through patient and staff feedback received in the first 18 months of operation, this approach was successful in positively influencing the daily experiences of families, visitors and staff.

The New QEII Hospital is a substantial re-provision of hospital activity, bringing together existing and new services in a purpose- built facility. It’s part of a wider clinically led strategic estate and service reorganisation across the NHS in Hertfordshire, providing the opportunity to deliver new models of care by integrating primary, acute and social care services for this community. This project exemplifies the current reforms in the NHS and the Five Year Forward View’s emphasis on wellbeing, sustainability, integration and efficiency.

Designed around the wellbeing of patients, the New QEII is an exemplar of low-energy, sustainable design, achieving BREEAM Excellent. The building design boldly integrates the work of several artists to inspire, stimulate and create a compassionate human scale.

A generous, covered plaza leads to the main entrance with central reception, café, pharmacy and community support facilities. The triple-height main entrance space, with vibrant mural, is light and open, connecting the external plaza spaces and the landscaped central courtyard. Colour theming, based on the mural, leads to department receptions and calm sub-waiting zones arranged around the courtyard, linked by internal open voids.

Inspired by patterns and designs found in the local area, the artist created full-size ink drawings, which were then translated into 125 laser-cut window screens, providing not only practical control of ventilation and security but also a beautiful articulation of art and craft integrated into the architectural design.