The Bridge Hospital was completed on scheduleKeywords:
The construction of the Meilahti Bridge Hospital has been completed on schedule. The main contractor SRV handed over the premises to HUS on 30 June. The new hospital will begin admitting patients at the beginning of next year.
The largest construction project in the HUS history, costing EUR 305.5 million, was completed at the end of June, when the demanding construction site phase, which began in 2018 in the middle of a busy hospital area, was completed.
“The construction proceeded according to the plans and schedule for the most part. Issues that emerged along the way were solved together with architects, building technology designers, facility users and contractors. Now that the long project has been completed according to the objectives, I can say that I feel relieved,” says Marita Perälä, Project Manager for Construction at HUS Kiinteistöt.
After the hospital building has been completed, the work will continue for several months with facilities, furniture, equipment and information technology installations and careful testing of all equipment and building technology. Equipping the hospital that has nearly 70,000 gross square metres with plenty of new technology will take time.
The Bridge Hospital will include an emergency department, a surgery department, an intensive care unit, outpatient clinics, a pharmacotherapy unit, inpatient wards and MRI facilities. There will be 58 intensive care places, 16 operating rooms, 4 inpatient wards, 215 inpatient beds and 69 day hospital beds. Teaching and lecture facilities as well as a lunch restaurant, a café and pharmacy facilities have also been built in the new hospital.
A modern hospital designed with personnel
The Bridge Hospital has been designed in close cooperation with HUS personnel. The starting point for planning was the patient's needs and experience.
“More than 40 user members were actively involved in the planning of the Bridge Hospital, including representatives of both medical care and support services. Our unit representatives have played an important role in the planning. In addition to the patient's needs, one of the goals of the project was to implement optimal working conditions for the personnel,” says architect Salla Itäaho from the HUS Facilities Center, who led the program planning of the Bridge Hospital at HUS.
The facilities to be built in the hospital were tested functionally, technically and, for example, with regard to the placement of furniture and equipment, using separately built model facilities before the plans were specified and the implementation of the facilities began on the site. Several experts by experience were involved in the model facility testing: patients and relatives.
Efficiency in planning was brought about by the “Big room” operating model, which regularly brought together the parties to the project and a large group of experts.
“The Big Room activities were introduced at HUS in 2016 first in the Bridge Hospital, where the operating model was successfully continued up until this spring. Based on our good experiences, it has established its place in HUS's largest construction projects,” Itäaho says.
At HUS, modern hospital construction also includes art. It serves as one way of developing the care environment to promote health and support the patient's resources. A separate art program was prepared for the Bridge Hospital, according to which an extensive, professionally curated entity of works of art was acquired. Some of the works of art at the Bridge Hospital have been implemented in connection with construction work, and some will be installed before the hospital is ready for use. Press release 18 June 2021:The exterior of the Bridge Hospital as part of a comprehensive art programme (in Finnish).
Data modelling as a tool in the demanding construction project
The design curve of the Bridge Hospital project was long. The need for a new hospital was already identified in the early 2000s. After the preliminary examinations, the first spatial needs assessments were carried out 10 years ago, and after the 2015 Bridge Hospital architecture competition, a meticulous hospital design phase begun.
“Seamless cooperation between the users and the customer's representatives and designers was critical for the operationally challenging planning site to succeed,” says Matti Anttila, main designer of the Bridge Hospital, Architect at the AW2 Architects, who is part of the Team Integrated Silta work consortium that won the architecture competition.
“From an architectural perspective, the task was the most difficult one in my career. Placing the extremely complex design brief on a very narrow and odd-shaped plot, with several connections to adjacent buildings and underground spaces was initially a breath-taking challenge. Additionally, the building's important role in the urban image complementing Meilahti's valuable building entity and surrounding milieu set its own requirements for the clarity and quality of architecture,” Anttila says.
Special attention was also paid to the energy efficiency of the building, good indoor air quality and the versatile use of natural light.
Data modelling was utilised extensively in the design of the Bridge Hospital. It means that a digital model and detailed building plans were created for structures and their data. This made it significantly easier to reconcile the old and new structures of the Meilahti campus.
Virtual models also benefited the functional design of the Bridge Hospital, as the Computer Aided Virtual Environment (CAVE) enabled personnel and patients to familiarise themselves with the planned facilities using 3D glasses.
The data modelling of the Bridge Hospital brought global visibility to the project. News article 2 October 2020:The Bridge Hospital was awarded as the world's most impressive public data model based construction project (in Finnish)
The first patients will be welcomed in early 2023
In January 2023, the current functions of Töölö Hospital will be relocated to the Bridge Hospital, including orthopedics, traumatology and neurosurgery, and most of the functions of the current Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The Bridge Hospital introduces completely new types of treatment facilities, such as the RAPTOR operating room, which is the first specifically equipped operating room in Europe, with equipment that allows the treatment of a patient suffering from life-threatening bleeding in one location. News article 5 November 2019: The RAPTOR functions at HUS Bridge Hospital will save lives (in Finnish). The new neurosurgery operating room is also one of a kind. There the MRI unit will be available during surgery.
The first patients of the Bridge Hospital will be welcomed in early 2023. During the same spring, hospital functions will end completely at Töölö Hospital. More information on unit moves and the launch of operations will be provided in autumn 2022.
Stakeholders may visit the Bridge Hospital in October or November 2022 at the earliest.