Wolfson Economics Prize 2021 Winner Announced

Earlier this year Leonard Design & Diedre King were shortlisted for the prestigious Wolfson Economics Prize 2021. The final five entries included some fantastic designs and strategies to improve new hospital buildings. Ab Rogers Design’s entry was selected as the winner for their ‘Living Systems’ proposal at a gala dinner in London.

The 2021 Question

Each Wolfson Economics Prize asks an important question to establish the brief for the competition:

‘How would you design and plan new hospitals to radically improve patient experiences, clinical outcomes, staff wellbeing, and integration with wider health and social care?’

Sponsored by Lord Wolfson and run-in partnership with the think tank Policy Exchange, The Prize invites new thinking to address major economic policy issues that aren’t already subject to significant public discourse.

Economist and co-author of the ‘Starfish Hospitals’ proposal, Diedre King explains:

“Hospitals have not been able to keep pace with technology advancements and the healthcare demands that we now have. And as a result, we have ended up with cramped conditions where one department encroaches on another.”

'Starfish Hospital' Wolfson Economic Prize Finalist

Starfish Hospitals

Our proposal explores an adaptable hospital design as a Starfish modern hub with connected rays and satellite centres of excellence. These are located in a ring of buildings around the campus or within local community cities and towns.

David Leonard said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the interest in our thinking & ideas from hospital trusts up & down the country”

The ‘Starfish Hospital’ concept aims to create a hospital that will enhance and save lives in a calm, inviting environment. Generally, the hospital experience can be confusing, impersonal, and unwelcoming for patients. It is rare to walk into a hospital and feel the sense of welcome you would in a five-star hotel.

David Leonard continues:

“We want the patient experience to be as completely stress free as we can in terms of the journey to the front door. Your welcomed like a five-star hotel guest in a welcome lounge and taken straight up to your ward. So, your whole journey is but a few steps away from the entrance”


It was an honour and a privilege for the team at Leonard Design to be a finalist for the Wolfson Economics Prize. With a number of projects already in the healthcare sector both in development and on site, it has been an inspirational journey for everyone involved. The design concept and ideals will surely have a legacy in future healthcare projects.