The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children

Pell Frischmann are pleased to be working with Stirling Prize winning architect Stanton Williams for on once of the world’s most advanced medical research centres at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The most sophisticated place in the world for paediatric care and medicine, this eight-storey centre consist of distinct and independent uses. These include an outpatient care centre for the testing of children and young people with rare and complex conditions, a research laboratory for the use of Great Ormond Street Hospital and UCL Institute of Child Health, a good manufacturing practice (GMP) unit for the mass manufacturing of innovative medicine for diagnosed children.

Professor Bobby Gasper, Director for the The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children states that by “bringing this knowledge, the latest technology and patients together under one roof we hope the work taking place in the Zayed Centre for Research will allow us to make breakthroughs and develop cures for rare diseases quicker than ever before, giving children everywhere the chance of a longer and fuller life.”

The laboratory, situated on the lower ground floor creates a transparent path towards the building that allows young patients to view scientist and technicians working on their behalf as they walk into the outpatient clinic, illustrating the philosophy of mutual appreciation.

The Zayed Centre for Research will allow us to make breakthroughs and develop cures for rare diseases quicker than ever before, giving children everywhere the chance of a longer and fuller life. 

The development has been formed through an in-situ concrete structure from the deep basements up to the fourth floor. From this level onwards, the building drastically changes shape to minimise its weight and complement work done on the GMP floor. Structural steel frames were used for these upper two stories to accomplish this.

As a complicated building that fundamentally has a different use and dissimilar layout on every level, lining up a vertical and simple structure was always going to be a challenge. As experts in concrete design, we solved this problem by slightly splitting the columns in a way that delivered a light structure that fulfilled the vision of a strong civic pace that also relates naturally to the site and its context.

With concrete normally hidden in many buildings, The Zayed Centre differentiates itself by leaving at least 75% of its concrete exposed. Through our collaboration with Stanton Williams, detailed specifications and sampling procedures were analysed to identify the right mix of concrete, right formwork, and appropriate bonding oils to enable an elaborate mixed façade consisting of bespoke European brick that complements the unique slotted windows.

The designing of the 5-storey high atrium in the rear of the building is another exciting and predominant feature of the structure that forms part of the sophisticated architecture. By keeping the domination of reinforced concrete walls and stairs as thin as possible but still strong and practical, we allowed the atrium to collect large portions of light into the building, creating an ambience of connectivity and freedom. 

Being a laboratory with powerful microscopes and other sensitive equipment, even the vibration of a person walking past could change or lower the quality of possible life saving imagery. Before the facility was built, the functionality of equipment was assessed against vehicle traffic impact survey for any shock loading and vibrations that could be transferred through the ground into the basement box and adversely affect the use of the equipment. In doing so, vibration absorbing systems were put in place, allowing us to help Great Ormond Street Hospital take a step closer to discovering ground breaking cures.

Building uses

  • icon-arrow1 - Out patient care centre
  • icon-arrow2 - research laboratory
  • icon-arrow3 - Good manufacturing practice (GMP)

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