Construction is underway on a new €5m ophthalmology outpatients department (OPD) on a 0.12-hectare brownfield site adjacent to the existing BreastCheck premises on Infirmary Road, Cork city.
The 1,181sq m eye clinic, designed by Reddy Architecture and Urbanism, will cater for the relocation of ophthalmic services from Cork University Hospital (CUH) to the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH).
The premises, a three-storey building to the front and single storey to the rear, is designed in a way that allows for a potential two-storey future expansion. It is expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.
The development, located within lands owned by SIVUH, is part of a long-running reconfiguration of services agreed by the six acute hospitals in the South/South West Hospital Group as far back as 2011.
Phase one of the relocation plan, the transfer of eye surgery to SIVUH, has already taken place.
The OPD project will include a new access ramp serving neighbouring BreastCheck and the new clinic. The ramp will be built in white brick, common material to the two buildings, along with a glass balustrade and continuous stainless steel handrails.
The development will also lead to the realignment of footpath and cycleway to provide set down for taxis and public vehicles.
The project does not involve any works to SIVUH itself, which is a protected structure.
It will not affect BreastCheck services, which at one point were mooted to be moving to CUH.
Richard Booth, associate director with Reddy A + U, said as the OPD building is conceived to treat patients with sight difficulties, the design is focused on creating a facade that is “predominantly tactile”. The ground floor window openings are positioned to form the word “Ophthalmology” in Braille.
Due to the sensitivity needs of the patients, ground floor windows are purposely sized small to restrict/control the amount of light entering the building while maintaining natural ventilation and privacy to the various rooms.
There will be two set-down bays — one for taxis — at the front of the proposed development to allow patients with sight impediments to access the building in a safe way.
Car parking will be via the SIVUHl campus main car park off Old Blackrock Road.
Mr Booth said the new OPD will occupy “what was a very challenging city-centre brownfield site”.
“It was hampered on three sides by existing buildings so the design needed careful planning to not only accommodate our client’s brief within a live hospital environment but also being aesthetically sensitive to its contextual surroundings,” Mr Booth said.
Reddy A + U are also behind the design of the 15-storey Prism, Tower Holdings first development in Cork city, on which the sod was turned recently at a brownfield derelict site on Clontarf St, near the bus station.
Details: www.reddyarchitecture.com or 021-4987000