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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Benedict Zucchi
# no hassle
"What's the fuss about?": Children's Hospital architect says project won't be a problem
Patients groups have raised concerns about traffic congestion and other problems at the Dublin 8 location.

Updated at 1.04pm

THE LEAD ARCHITECT on the new Children’s Hospital project has has described it as a “tremendously exciting” one, and says his firm is used to completing buildings within “challenging” conditions.

A number of groups — including children’s charity the Jack and Jill Foundation — have been critical of the selection of the site, at the St James’s campus in Dublin 8, as the location for the new facility.

But, speaking at an event to launch the design team this morning, architect Benedict Zucchi said he believed issues like parking limitations could be addressed as the project moves ahead.

“We as designers are given a brief in terms of the numbers of car spaces to provide – in this case it’s 1,000 spaces,” the architect said.

It’s planned the spaces will be primarily allocated to patients and their families.

“All hospital projects are inherently complex for a number of reasons — they’re the most complex projects that we get to design,” Zucchi said.

When we saw the site, we thought — in a way — what’s the fuss about?

“We’ve worked on projects that were more challenging in terms of sites: hospital projects in Britain — the new children’s hospital in Brighton for example, which is on a much tighter site.

“We’re used to working through complex projects and dealing with those kinds of issues.”

Speaking at the same event, Health Minister Leo Varadkar insisted work was progressing on the project “full steam ahead”.

It’s planned the project will be completed by 2019, with the first patients moving in later that year.

Conor McCabe ... Leo Varadkar Conor McCabe ... Leo Varadkar

“Of course, you can never assume that An Bord Pleanála will grant planning permission — but there have been extensive pre-planning consultations, and we’re very confident that we’ll have work under way on the site by the end of next year,” Varadkar said.

“Almost everyone now accepts this decision and is behind it.”

The new hospital will provide 384 in-patient beds for children including 62 critical care beds, all in single en-suite rooms.

There’ll also be 85 daycare beds, it’s planned — and 14 theatres in total.

Benedict Zucchi is head of the ‘BDP’ firm’s architectural healthcare team in London. In addition to the Brighton hospital project, which was finished in 2007, he also designed the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, which is due to open in September of 2015.

Work will also start next year on the two satellite centres for the Children’s Hospital in Tallaght and Blanchardstown.

The projects were announced by the Department of Health earlier this year as a way of directly addressing concerns about access at the Dublin 8 site.

First posted at 10.20am.

Read: National Children’s Hospital to get two ‘satellite’ units – nearer to the M50

Read: Plans for nine storey children’s hospital on St. James’s site revealed

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