Construction of the project on behalf of developer Bruntwood and the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust was led by Engie, with Sheppard Robson as architect.
Stretching 130 metres long, the stainless steel-panelled bridge allows patients to arrive at the helipad on the roof of the Grafton Street car park off Oxford Road in Manchester city centre. From there, they can be transported via the bridge in less than three minutes to the emergency department at Manchester Royal Infirmary. Patients can reach the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital’s trauma centre in less than six.
The project has been a long time coming. Designs first debuted in 2016 and the initial targeted completion date was 2018. The final design had to work around the grade two-listed Pankhurst Centre, with the project constructed on top of the roof of the hospital’s high dependency unit, which stayed open throughout the process.
You can see the finished product in the drone video below courtesy of cladding installer Curtis Moore.
Throughout the process, Sheppard Robson has championed the design of the bridge.
“We and the trust wanted the design to signify the importance of this life-saving addition to MFT’s Oxford Road Campus, hence its striking geometric form,” said Alex Solk, a partner with the architectural practice. “The choice of iridescent, shimmering cladding only serves to heighten this.”
The helipad cost £7m, with additional funds coming from MFT’s Time Saves Lives fundraising appeal. The effort raised £3.9m in just 12 months, according to the trust.
Before the helipad and bridge were complete, the critically injured were flown to a landing site in Platt Fields Park and taken to the hospital by road ambulance. Those involved in the helipad project estimate that it could help around 300 patients get access to desperately needed care in a short amount of time and thus save lives.
“It’s difficult to overstate the impact this will have on the community,” said Alyson Seddon, head of education and public buildings (North West) at Engie UK & Ireland. “We hope this will leave a lasting legacy.”