Anshen + Allen's bold and innovative use of copper on Bexley reflects its civic significance by referencing other municipal buildings of historic consequence in the city. However, where copper has traditionally been used as a roofing material, here three distinct copper clad patient wings sit above glazed ambulatory floors and the masonry base of the radiotherapy department; thereby creating a clever juxtaposition with its urban environment.
As well as being an enduring material with low maintenance requirements, copper was selected because it is a natural material which enhances the appearance of the building fabric as it ages.Copper is a strong and robust material and forms a distinct 'protective shield' around the hospital's patient areas. In contrast, a softer material - ceramic tiles - has been used in the internal courtyard areas, effectively punctuating the copper facade. An innovative copper cassette rainscreen was mounted onto a unitised cladding system, which was manufactured offsite.
The modern application of the copper is particularly fitting for thie state-of-the-art healthcare facility. The Bexley Wing is architecturally striking and has created a dramatic landmark building for St James's University Hospital. It both responds to and enhances the hospital campus and city beyond, creating a memorable sense of place for patients, staff, visitors and community alike.
Specialist copper contractor: Scheldebouw using KME Tecu Patina
Main contractor: Bovis Lend Lease