Lambeth Council has approved Hawkins\Brown’s 11-storey extension to one of London’s largest children’s hospitals

The £50 million building, in Waterloo, was given the go-ahead at Lambeth Council’s planning committee meeting on Tuesday (5 October) and will connect to Hopkins’ Evelina Children’s Hospital, which was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2006.

The scheme will provide 100 new beds, specialist imaging facilities and 14 operating theatres on a 0.3ha triangular plot, making more space for patients and families to relax, including a new roof terrace.

Historic England had objected to the scheme because of concerns over its impact on the Westminster World Heritage Site, which consists of Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church.
The heritage body argued that views of the Palace of Westminster from Westminster Bridge would be reduced and the architectural dialogue between St Thomas’ Hospital and the palace would be damaged by the scale of the new building.

In a report recommending approval, Lambeth’s planning officers said they had ‘carefully considered’ Historic England’s objections but did not consider that the proposal would cause any harm to the heritage site.

The new building will have a double-height entrance, with the lower portion of its façade reflecting local red brick buildings and the upper portion – which will be visible from the Palace of Westminster on the other side of the river – matching a Portland stone context.

The number of children and young people seen at the hospital has doubled since it opened 16 years ago and it is now set to take on specialist heart and lung services currently based at the Royal Brompton Hospital, subject to consultation.

Hawkins\Brown is working with developer Linkcity, as well as with fit-out architect NBBJ and engineer AECOM which are designing and delivering the million-pound fit-out and clinical planning for the new wing.
Evelina London opened on Westminster Bridge Road in 2005, bringing together paediatric services of St Thomas’ and Guy’s hospital. The new hospital wing is expected to open in six years’ time.

Hawkins\Brown partner Ewan Graham said: ‘St Thomas’ Hospital is a prominent and much-loved London landmark. We took care in designing a ground-breaking children’s hospital shaped by the characteristics of its historic setting while promoting health, wellbeing, comfort and improved clinical outcomes.

‘The new building will stand as a symbol of London’s commitment to our children and future generations, ensuring we give the very best chances to some of our littlest people at a time when they need it the most.’

Evelina London director Marian Ridley added: ‘This is a huge step for us – it will allow us to continue with our exciting plans to grow the hospital into a world-leading centre of life-changing care for even more children, young people and their families.’
Architect’s view
Responding to the sensitive local context, the building’s lower levels reflect the traditional red brick of Lambeth, open up views into the hospital site geometry and improve the public realm. The nine storeys above ground have been designed to respond to the wider city scale and act as an urban marker for the area.

Internally, the building connects directly through and is designed with adaptable floorplates to accommodate the ever-changing clinical and research needs of a modern hospital.

The new entrance forms an approachable and friendly welcome in a revitalised public realm. Curved geometry at the corners softens the building’s edges and plays on the relationship with the curved atrium and stair cores of the original Evelina London building.

Sheltered roof gardens will frame views out across London and provide spaces where children can play safely, parents can gather their thoughts and staff can enjoy moments of calm.

Source: Architects Journal

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