Last year 1,200 children visited GOSH to have specialist treatment for cancer, with instances of cancer continuing to increase, and childhood cancer remaining the leading cause of death in children aged 1-14 years old. Camden Council has recently voted in favour of the designs for the new entrance building, designed by BDP for the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust’s cancer clinics are currently situated in 1930s buildings, with services scattered across the hospital campus. The new Children’s Cancer Centre will mean children are treated together, in a bespoke environment, designed to meet their needs, with a focus on play and physical and educational activities alongside medical treatment. The centre will include cancer wards, cancer day care, new theatres, and an intensive care unit. The building will also house new imaging equipment, and a specialised chemotherapy pharmacy.
Accommodating young people with rare and difficult-to-treat cancers, the new Children’s Cancer Centre sits at the heart of the development, and the concept design required BDP’s multidisciplinary teams to think sensitively about the scale of the new building.
BDP explained: “Conceptually, the design plays with ideas of ‘House’ and ‘Garden’, with conscious allusions to home life scattered throughout the building. These themes allowed the team to focus on redefining the sense of scale throughout the project, which informed a more intimate, child-friendly dimension. This approach has assisted in changing the perception of the cancer centre, bringing it in line with the varying dimensions of surrounding buildings, and remaining sympathetic to the residential character of the wider neighbourhood.”
Many of the design concepts evolved from early stage consultations with GOSH’s ‘Young Person’s Forum’, a group of young patients. The most popular theme expressed by the forum was ‘nature’, followed by ‘home away from home’, and ‘indoor-outdoor’.
Commenting on the progression of the project, Architect Principal, Benedict Zucchi, said: “The design concept, which evolved through intensive engagement with patients, families, and staff, not only gives the hospital state-of-the-art cancer facilities, but also a welcoming new entrance and a rooftop garden for the enjoyment of everyone. To be able to give this world-leading children’s hospital and its employees more space, and better working and healthcare environments, means so much to our whole multidisciplinary team. We are so delighted to have received conditional planning permission.”
BDP is providing multidisciplinary services including architecture, building services engineering, lighting, sustainability consultancy, and civil and structural engineering.