The Sid Watkins Building


Key Info


The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust


Fazakerley, Liverpool



Completion Date

January 2015

What We Did

The Sid Watkins Building (part of the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust) was delivered via the NHS ProCure21+ framework by Interserve Construction with Gilling Dod Architects.

Named after the Formula One safety guru, professor and close friend of F1 Chief Bernie Ecclestone, Sid Watkins OBE is celebrated in his home city of Liverpool after saving the lives of drivers including Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen, virtually eliminating deaths in the sport.

The new building for the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust breaks from traditional NHS design, delivering a first class patient and visitor experience that is closer to that of a 5-Star hotel than a hospital. The three storey building provides specialised inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient care, education and training facilities, offices and relatives overnight accommodation.

The interior design strategy links with the existing Walton Centre, and the colour per floor approach adopted there was repeated in the New Build but updated with a bolder palette and a secondary accent colour to each level. These colours are in line with the ‘Walton Way’ branding and result in a modern and bright interior, whilst also aiding wayfinding. The high specification of key finishes and fixtures, such as the reception flooring, door finishes, bespoke joinery and signage, all combine to achieve a high quality and non-clinical feel throughout.

The artwork on display is part of a series of commissions across the new building coordinated by Lime. Underpinned by an overarching theme of ‘connection, momentum, response’, the artworks have developed from a concept of connecting parts, many elements that work like clockwork to create the whole. The idea of chain reactions, synapses, and connections link across artworks, with individual approaches in each area. This links to both the neurological work within the Trust, and the concept of a new space within which many elements work together. All artists worked closely with staff and patients to develop quality artworks carefully integrated into the wider design of the building.

The team demonstrated by the use of BIM and 3D modelling how, through their design and construction innovation, a planned two storey building could include a third storey for no additional cost.

Part of the additional free space has enabled the Walton Centre to invite the inpatient brain injuries rehabilitation unit run by Mersey Care into the building. Specialising in patients’ cognitive recovery this will allow the Trust to work collaboratively to enhance care and continuity. The first floor also provides additional outpatient clinics together with fallow space for further clinics in the future.

The second floor includes education and training space designed for flexible use, allowing the Trust to host external conferences for the first time, along with office space and further strategically located fallow space for future expansion. A new charitably funded Home from Home accommodation suite will enable relatives of critical care patients to stay overnight on site but in a calmer environment away from the main hospital.

All of these design benefits came about by our close liaison with the Trust, clinicians, patients and key stakeholders to capture, understand and test their requirements. Listening workshops and drop in sessions were held to develop 3D models, and mock ups and highlighted changes by the Trust, to reduce post installation costs.

The concept design to RIBA Stage 2 was undertaken by John Cooper Architecture.  Gilling Dod Architects were appointed by Interserve from Stage 3 through to completion.