Page last updated at 23:54 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 00:54 UK

Top award for children's hospital

Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital
The hospital was built in the shape of an ark and is sited on the seafront

A state-of-the-art children's hospital which opened in June 2007 has been named Britain's best public building.

The Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital, on Brighton seafront, in East Sussex, is one of only seven hospitals dedicated to paediatric care in the UK.

It was chosen from a 21-strong shortlist to win the Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award.

Judges praised the hospital for its nautical theme with white concrete panels and bright bands of colour.

It was built in the shape of an ark, and replaced an old hospital with the same name.

It offers a light-filled central atrium at the heart of the nine-storey building, providing a bright reception, and it has beds for 100 patients which are arranged in single, two-bedded and four-bedded units, each with a sea view.

I hope that the Alex will prove to be an inspiration to other planners, developers and architects
Prime Minister Gordon Brown

The hospital, known as the Alex, also has 15 outpatient consulting rooms, three operating theatres and a cancer care day centre.

Furniture has been specially-designed for children and every in-patient bed has its own pull-out bed for a parent.

Family accommodation includes en-suite bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and terraces.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "This award showcases what can be achieved when high-quality design is coupled with highly effective delivery.

"I hope that the Alex will prove to be an inspiration to other planners, developers and architects."

'Skilfully designed'

The hospital was opened in 1881 but in June 2007 it reopened at a new site, at the city's Royal Sussex County Hospital, with three times the floor space of the old hospital and double the number of beds.

The new PFI hospital was commissioned by the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and delivered by Kajima Partnerships with designers BDP.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of the trust, said: "The teams who work at the Alex have always been committed to providing the highest quality medical and nursing care.

"Now they have the space, facilities and equipment to provide a vast range of clinical and therapeutic services in an environment skilfully designed to accommodate 21st century healthcare."

The Royal Alexandra was announced as the winner at the British Construction Industry Awards in London on Wednesday night.

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