HOK has not only masterplanned the Barts Hospital site but has also created a sparkling new building to sit amid the listed structures already on the London complex.
Client: Skanska, Barts Health NHS Trust, London Joint Venture and Capital Hospitals
Size: 6,500 sq m
Duration: 10 years
Words by Emily Martin
St Bartholomew’s Hospital, in London, universally known as Barts, sees the completion of its comprehensive redevelopment project with the creation of a specialist cancer centre in addition to the rehoming of its cardiovascular facility: the Barts Heart Centre. Undertaking the redesign was HOK, which also delivered the master planning, lead design, landscape architecture, conservation architecture and interior design among other project services.
The new design scheme for the Barts Heart Centre focuses on the needs of patients, staff, clinicians and visitors to reduce stress and promote healing. The centre’s central atrium fills the new building with natural light as well creating ease of orientation. Far away from the dark and clinical spaces more associated with the NHS, large windows with low sills feature to maximise natural daylight in areas including patient rooms and operating theatres, while artwork – delivered in partnership with Vital Arts, a charity funded to deliver arts projects for the well-being of patients, staff and the wider hospital community – improves the experience for patients while contributing to their wellbeing.
HOK has designed the centre to reduce stress and promote healing. It features green spaces both inside and out, as well as artwork
‘The design [also] needed to be sympathetic to the existing Georgian architecture,’ adds David King, technical principal at HOK. ‘The new building, for example, incorporates the retained King George V block while featuring a contemporary design of Portland stone and brick. It blends into a historic setting that includes St Paul’s Cathedral.’
It was a highly complex project owing to the historical architectural importance of the site, as well as the hospital remaining open throughout the redevelopment. The original hospital complex contains multiple listed structures, including the Grade I listed Gatehouse, Grade I listed North, East and West Wings, the Grade II Medical School and the Grade II* listed Church of St Bartholomew the Less. HOK’s design integrates these, along with the restored seven-storey King George V building, into a sympathetic new development.
The new building features a central atrium filling the communal space, as well as clinics, operating theatres and wards with natural light
The hospital’s main square, designed by James Gibbs in the 1730s, has also been restored and is now a fully accessible, welcome green space in the heart of the complex. The square is permanently closed to vehicles to aid patient relaxation. The resulting planting scheme, paving, and restoration of the historic central fountain and street lamps enhance the surrounding Grade I and II-listed buildings.
The Barts Health NHS Trust, part of client consortium, was keen to adopt a ‘one-stop-shop’ approach to healthcare provision, and had it included in the project brief. This provided an opportunity to design efficient new patient pathways and transform department-based services. And by supplying a shared diagnostic and treatment provision, separating outpatients from inpatients, and isolating facility management flows, HOK’s design minimises travel distances and speeds up patient transfer times between departments. The centre is also an internationally renowned teaching facility, with the scheme creating an alliance among students, researchers and clinicians.
Large windows with low sills allow natural light to flood into spaces, making waiting areas much more pleasant
‘The client’s design brief included the creation of a coherent, sympathetic new structure that fully addresses the historic local context while accommodating the delivery of clinical excellence,’ says King. ‘It was also important to deliver a facility that could support the delivery of flexible healthcare services that would meet changing patient requirements and be flexible to respond to the hospital’s evolving clinical strategy and advances in modern healthcare.’