ACA Win International Design Award


ACA win international design award for the Allam Diabetes Centre

The International Design Award

We are thrilled to have won an international architectural design award for the Allam Diabetes Centre.  In fact, ACA won the bronze Novum design award in the architectural design category.

The Winning Project – the Allam Diabetes Centre

Allam Diabetes Centre

Unfortunately, over 4.9 million people are currently living with diabetes in the UK.  As we all know, it is serious and lifelong condition that also affects several of our family members and close friends.

So, it was an honour for us to design the Allam Diabetes Centre on behalf of Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Indeed, the Allam family generously donated £6 million to the Trust to contribute design the centre.

Located at the entrance to Hull Royal Infirmary (HRI), the brief was to create a “state of the art” building.  Furthermore, we needed to design a welcoming and positive environment for patients, visitors and staff.

The building needed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating and include:

– a ground floor with a large waiting area and reception, office space, consulting rooms and specialist treatment rooms

– a first floor with individual and open plan offices and training rooms

– a second floor with research consulting rooms, offices, store areas and a roof void.

Traditionally we have designed our buildings from the inside out.  However, in this case we had to consider the building in its holistic context.  So, our goal was to design an architectural presence that conveys an expression of cultural and civic values.  In essence, we wanted to design a building that embraces patients, their families and the local community too.  We wanted to provide a welcoming and caring environment with a de-institutionalised feel.

The Allam Diabetes Centre – Design Inspiration

Firstly, the building’s organic’s plan took inspiration from the anatomy of the major organs affected by Diabetes.  With this is mind, we pushed the envelope on the construction – a risk which paid off. It is unusual for buildings to have curves, as building in straight lines is much easier to construct. However, ACA’s curved design creates a salutogenic effect to help patients feel better, as they approach and enter the building.



Also, the porcelain cladding made up of a biodegradable material is a metaphoric skin to protect the organs.  In addition, the insulin molecular structure inspired the fretwork design characterising some of the glazing.



Secondly, we selected the porcelain cladding as a reference to the use of marble often used in buildings in the benefactor’s culture – Egypt.


We selected golden coloured aluminium trims, window frames and reveals as another reference to the Egyptian culture. In fact, gold in ancient Egypt had a spiritual significance, considered “the skin of the gods”.  Not only, vibrational medicine uses gold for restructuring the highest level of spiritual anatomy.


The Allam Diabetes Centre – Time Challenge

The time frame was a major challenge. So, we had to overlap the concept development, planning application, drawing development and the tender package. Typically, this work  would happen in separate stages.  However ACA had to do all of this work simultaneously, to meet the deadline.

In summary, we can’t wait to see this project fully completed and to gain feedback once operational!

What a fantastic team effort!  We couldn’t be more proud.









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