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Queen officially opens NHS Grampian emergency care centre

October 2 2013

Queen officially opens NHS Grampian emergency care centre
HM the Queen has officially opened NHS Grampian’s new emergency care centre, following admission of its first patients last December.

The £110m Matthew Hay Building was delivered by Robertson to designs by Mackie Ramsay Taylor and offers a range of services including a minor injuries unit and out of hours care.

Arranged over 10 floors, each the size of a football pitch, the scheme contains a navigation troubling 1,450 rooms and enough plasterboard to clad the Empire State Building.

Bill Robertson, executive chairman of Robertson Group said: “To have this landmark project opened by Her Majesty the Queen is a great honour for Robertson Group.

“The emergency care centre was a major project which we are proud to have delivered on time and on budget.”

The final phase of the project, which includes a therapeutic roof garden, is expected to be complete by Spring 2014.
31,800 separate items of equipment had to be installed
31,800 separate items of equipment had to be installed
patients and visitors will soon have access to a private roof garden
patients and visitors will soon have access to a private roof garden

The scheme is named in honour of Matthew Hay, Aberdeen's medical officer between 1888 and 1923
The scheme is named in honour of Matthew Hay, Aberdeen's medical officer between 1888 and 1923


#1 Posted by Bill on 2 Oct 2013 at 14:34 PM
If the intention of this building is to encourage you to eat healthy, drink and smoke less and avoid any potential extreme sports if only to stay from going inside because it is so bereft of architectural quality; then golly gosh, we have a fantastic result!
Fitz Hat
#2 Posted by Fitz Hat on 2 Oct 2013 at 16:35 PM
You have to wonder about the comments on this site. Have you visited the site, Bill? What makes you say it is "bereft of architectural quality"? Does the building meet the requirements of the hospital?
Bill (but not that Bill)
#3 Posted by Bill (but not that Bill) on 2 Oct 2013 at 17:05 PM
Its my understanding that the Client thinks this is a wonderful building
I think Bills comments show a distinct lack of understanding of what the Client was trying to achieve here
The project will never win the Stirling Prize……but does the Client, Patients, Doctors, General Public or project team care if it doesn’t
…….not for a second
#4 Posted by Al on 2 Oct 2013 at 18:15 PM
... but the client would say that after spending millions.
#5 Posted by Yron on 2 Oct 2013 at 19:35 PM
Aberdeen seems to love the "business park on steroids" aesthetic these days. You're one of wealthiest cities in the country, grow some ambition with it.
 Bill (but not that Bill)
#6 Posted by Bill (but not that Bill) on 2 Oct 2013 at 21:25 PM
No, i dont think that is correct.
Anyone who has been involved in the HFS Procuremnt process would tell you this project has been very good. So well done Robertson Construction and their design team.
If they think this is wonderful...
#7 Posted by If they think this is wonderful... on 3 Oct 2013 at 08:39 AM
... then the client needs to get out more and see what can be done!
Any photos of the roof garden UR? Let's hope they managed to make that a nice place and that the route there isn't as nasty/long/dull//disconcerting as elsewhere on the site so you've a chance of finding it!
Just the jobbie
#8 Posted by Just the jobbie on 3 Oct 2013 at 08:57 AM
MRT must have also been proud enough of it to put it in front of the client. Come on guys, time to come into the new millennia and stop rolling out buildings that look like something off a bad 90's business park - that can't be what you aspired to when you left uni...

Public bodies are never likely to pay proper cash for architects services when so many 'architects' still produce boxes and sell them to inexpert clients as the best that can be done. RIAS should strike off the guys who regularly devalue the title.
Juan Cobian
#9 Posted by Juan Cobian on 3 Oct 2013 at 13:01 PM
If anything "devalues" the title of architect, it's comments like those above, which give the impression that the profession values aesthetics over all other considerations.
patient experience
#10 Posted by patient experience on 3 Oct 2013 at 14:34 PM
#9 I don't think anyone's saying it shouldn't function - only that to truly serve it's function it should also be attractive/humane. Saying that the appearance/feel/aesthetics of a hospital is secondary to all other things is to say that the emotional experience of the patients and staff are unimportant; and to say we can't succeed in this area as well as in others is to say we are largely unsuccessful as architects in our wider duty of care to those who use our buildings.

We wouldn't argue that a school can be miserable provided it offers the space to teach - we'd expect more from a key venue of our youth and growth. Why, then, should hospitals - the venues of major life experiences - be judged by any lesser standard?
#11 Posted by Octopus on 3 Oct 2013 at 18:04 PM
It's been proven that healthcare architecture doesn't have to be like this. No point in lecturing someone blind to this but Hoskins have been doing it for years and even Atkins seem to have moved in the right direction with their Taycare stuff.

Let's say form follows function for a while, look at the state of the maintenance rail in those photos. Not clever.
Bill (OP)
#12 Posted by Bill (OP) on 3 Oct 2013 at 22:34 PM
@Fitz Hat, in answer to your questions: 1) Yes, I have had the misfortune of visiting the site. I have to admit that I have actually never been inside the turgid monstrosity, but I really should of as when trying to avoid the behemoth I felt a little bit ill. 2) Look at the above pictures. Have you visited the site? 3) No idea, does it? I reckon it’s probably got some fancy beds in it, with those pay-as-you-go hospital phones and integrated tv’s on a swivel arm. That’s pretty much a requirement now. So yes, probably.

@ Bill (but not that Bill)

It is my understanding from having spoken with a couple of people who work in the building, and one who has been unlucky enough to spend a night inside, that it is truly an insipid, and soulless place to inhabit for any extended length of time.

I think it’s patently obvious that the Client was trying to do here; maximise the site (10 floors, each the size of a football pitch!) while spending the least amount possible. I never suggested that the project will, or ought to win the Stirling Prize, but even having the modicum of desire to achieve a better design response than the usual poor quality we see in Aberdeen would have been a good result. We (not just in Aberdeen) suffer from a terrible combination of afflictions between settling for second rate designs and not challenging / educating the Clients and Developers who commission these jobs. Until people do, and that becomes the norm, we will be left with an urban landscape pock-marked with this dross.

Aberdeen is supposed to be the Oil capital of Europe. This was a chance to show the rest of the continent how a thriving city does new hospitals; show how we have learned from the Scandinavian masters of healthcare design, and how we have improved upon it by choosing sensitive contextual design, natural light bathing the interior and specifying local materials. Instead we have: “…composite cladding panels in white, grey, and silver giving an opportunity to break up the massing of the elevations.”

#13 Posted by Rod on 4 Oct 2013 at 06:26 AM
I bet the Client is sitting at home just wishing he or she could be "Educated" as you suggest

Its exactly attitudes like that, which has led to our deminished role.
#14 Posted by Egbert on 4 Oct 2013 at 09:03 AM
#12 - Hear, hear.
Aberdeen's new architecture is a sad indictment of its cultural standing and civic ambition. That this hospital is typical of the city's current output is just depressing.
educated or inspired?
#15 Posted by educated or inspired? on 4 Oct 2013 at 09:49 AM
As a rather Calvinist nation we're not always sure we deserve or are allowed the good stuff and can settle for the bare basics - especially when spending public money. However, I know very few clients who set out to commission a poor building, but I know loads who felt they had to work rather harder than they expected even to get their basic needs met by the delivery team.

A poor architect is like a poor lover: you have to provide clear direction and have real patience, but you still feel frustrated and faintly disappointed at the end : conversely a good architect listens to your desires - even the ones you don't quite know if/how to express - and brings a few happy surprises on the way. The trick is knowing which is which when you're basically blind/speed dating.

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