Can Liverpool’s new hospital make the whole city healthier – and wealthier?

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Can Liverpool's new hospital make the whole city healthier – and wealthier?
The design for the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital features a landscaped ‘health campus’. / © NBBJ and HKS Architects

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Can Liverpool's new hospital make the whole city healthier – and wealthier?
The design for the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital features a landscaped ‘health campus’. / © NBBJ and HKS Architects

It has been called the “ugliest building in Liverpool”: a towering brutalist slab with near-permanent scaffolding in a sea of parking, the Royal Liverpool University Hospital has long needed a facelift.

“If you think of Liverpool 100 years ago,” says David Lewis from the project’s architects NBBJ, “you had the docks, and all these public and civic buildings. To the west, there was the university and beautiful residential squares. But when building the hospital, they took an urban block which had streets, schools and churches – and they flattened it to put in a 1970s hospital slab. It was detrimental to the city.”

Now, however, after more than a decade of delays, work has finally started on an ambitious £335m redevelopment of Merseyside’s largest hospital. And the ambition is not simply to tackle a building that has outstayed its usefulness; it is to make the whole city healthier and wealthier too.

The design is underpinned by the idea that nature and natural light will aid the healing process for patients, creating a hospital that is calmer and more pleasant for the city’s residents as well as its staff and patients. […]

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