The Zayed Center for Research on Rare Diseases in Children / Stanton Williams
photos: Hufton + Crow
Textual description provided by the architects. Dedicated to providing world-class research along with new treatments and therapies, the Zayed Center for Research in Rare Disease in Children for Great Ormond Street Hospital Foundation Trust, University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is a pioneering global meaning pediatric facility. Combining cutting edge research and exceptional outpatient care under one roof, the state-of-the-art building in Stanton Williams brings together 500 scientists, clinicians and academics for the first time. By working together in a collaborative environment, they will collaborate on innovative research: translating it into hope for children around the world.
Stanton Williams’ design reinvents the clinical environment as a shared civic experience, a holistic space in which science, city and human life meet. With its prominent presence in front of Coram’s Fields – the first
Foundling hospital site and a living symbol of children’s well-being for over 250 years: the Zayed Center for Research is a new urban beacon of science and care.
The 13,000 m2 public research facility celebrates the often “invisible” work of researchers and clinicians and their vital contribution to society. By showing science, a transparent ground floor highlights the activities inside the laboratories, visible from all sides inside the Center and from the external road.
The generosity of space, natural light and sensory art elevate the Zayed Research Center into a shared human experience. Using “non-clinical” architectural language, the building offers unexpected civic qualities. It is interrupted by the overwhelming journey of young patients and their families as they face health problems to create a calm and dignified environment: an environment shared with clinicians and researchers in an attempt to understand and overcome the impact of life-changing diseases.
The well-being of patients, clinicians and academics is the key. The architecture achieves a feeling of spaciousness and generosity through an unexpected non-clinical palette of exposed concrete and natural oak. Daylight and views connect users across space: from framed panoramas to green spaces adjacent to views in research labs.
Inside, the Zayed Research Center is organized around two “hearts”, an outpatient area and a research area, each designed as volumes layered around its atrium lit by the day. While clinical and collaborative research environments have their own specialized areas, the building provides both physical and visual connections between the various functions and users through spaces, light and materials.
The building is an important new addition to London’s knowledge district and the Bloomsbury Conservation Area. It is located within walking distance of Great Ormond Street Hospital, UCL and is opposite Coram’s Fields – a living community symbol of philanthropy and children’s well-being
for over 250 years.
Coram’s Fields was the site of the Foundling hospital founded in 1739 by philanthropist Thomas Coram to treat and care for disadvantaged children. An active music program sponsored by Handel and a public art gallery founded by Hogarth were part of the healing experience – a legacy that has synergy with the Zayed Research Center. Actively engaged with art and public life, the Zayed Center for Research also places science as part of the urban experience. Park and construction enter into an open dialogue with the busy city life.