The brief from the Christie was for a new building to replace an existing outdated facility, which would be of the highest architectural quality, create a strong new entrance to the hospital and achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ environmental rating. The building has been designed to have a relationship with the existing buildings on site, both visually and physically. The building has been orientated to relate to the adjacent buildings on the site - and to create a stronger and more legible main entrance point to the hospital.
The building is clad primarily in undulating bands of brass shingles. The natural textural finish and rich, warm tones of this material were chosen to complement the brick and terracotta cladding on adjacent buildings, whilst creating a unique and beautiful façade with a natural patina which will weather naturally over time. This contrasts with a dark grey ceramic rain-screen cladding, echoing the slate roofs of the Victorian properties opposite. Both the Christie and AFL Architects wanted a design and layout that would maximise opportunities for natural lighting, ventilation and break-out space, to create an attractive and healthy patient environment.
The landscaped central lightwell - accessible to all building users - provides a valuable open-air amenity space for relaxation and interaction. In addition to environmental considerations, steel-framed construction with lightweight concrete decks and studwork throughout, the project has provided large open plan areas allowing future flexibility. The Christie vision for this building has been met with a unique, carefully crafted and sustainable design, effectively facilitating valuable medical treatment and research work for years to come. The facility opened ahead of schedule in November 2010.
This article was published in 30/2011 issue of Copper Architecture Forum magazine.