Designed by Foster + Partners, Sulis Hospital Bath is a quietly revolutionary building which incorporates biophilic design to enhance wellbeing and improve recovery times for patients. The hospital is set in the picturesque Somerset countryside, on the outskirts of Peasedown St John village.
Originally commissioned by Circle Health Group in 2009, as part of a privately funded initiative, the hospital has been delivering a holistic approach to healthcare for over 12 years. In 2021, it was bought by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and renamed Sulis Hospital Bath.
This acquisition has grown the hospital’s services, increasing capacity at the facility for both NHS and private patients. Spencer de Grey, Head of Design, Foster + Partners, said: “‘Patients come first’ is the central theme of our first hospital, in Bath, and is at the core of all our subsequent work in healthcare.”
Darron Haylock, Partner, Foster + Partners, said: “It has been fantastic to revisit Sulis Hospital Bath – 12 years after it first opened – and see how our design continues to enhance the wellbeing of patients and staff. We are incredibly proud of this project which re-casts the hospital as a humane and civilised place.”
The hospital environment is bright and uplifting, with a central double-height entrance atrium, featuring a reception area and public café. The space is flooded with natural light through circular skylights and windows. The café is a destination for local people, who spend time relaxing and socialising in this communal area.
Recovery spaces on the lower level are glazed, as are the operating theatres, and all look out across the green landscape. Bedrooms on the upper floor are oriented to benefit from views across the countryside. Sympathetic landscaping further emphasises the therapeutic natural environment – an overall approach very different from more familiar, institutional hospital surroundings.
The inherently flexible design has allowed the hospital to meet changing needs and requirements. During the Covid-19 pandemic the internal spaces were reconfigured to shield patients undergoing chemotherapy. Covid safe pathways through the building also helped to reduce the spread of infection.
With a focus on patient experience and comfort, Sulis Hospital Bath provides a blueprint for other hospitals and has informed many of the practice’s global healthcare projects, such as the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, Maggie’s Manchester, Cleveland Clinic and the Pavilion for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Source and photos Courtesy of Foster + Partners.