Spire Healthcare, a private healthcare provider in the U.K., has invested $54 million (£35million) to turn a local landmark—No.2 Montefiore Road—into its 37th private hospital. Located in the seaside town of Brighton and Hove, the neo-classical building was constructed in the 1890s as a furniture depository for local department store Hanningtons and later converted to offices in the 1970s.

To transform the space into The Montefiore Hospital, IBI Nightingale (Harwell, U.K.) stripped the space to its bare brickwork and exposed parts of the original structure, including cast iron columns with foundry stamps in the waiting areas and the original fire escape stairs.

The hospital houses eight exam and two chemotherapy treatment rooms, a day surgery unit, three laminar flow theaters, and an endoscopy suite. With a boutique hotel-like interior, the 21 private patient rooms have large half-round windows and en-suite bathrooms.

One of the design challenges was getting more natural daylight into the operating rooms, which was solved by adding rooflights. Four units were mounted in the ceiling plane to bring in light from the external façade windows.

To level the first and second floors and eliminate the internal stairs and ramps, 3-foot-deep polystyrene blocks were placed on top of the existing timber floors before new concrete slabs were cast on top. The timber floor and polystyrene were then demolished from beneath. In doing this, traditional back propping down to the basement was eliminated and time was saved.

The project began in June 2010 and construction took 18 months and cost $26 million (£17 million). Plans call for adding a roof-top hospitality area with a beached raft theme using rope-bound logs sitting on a bed of stones.