Work has been completed on a flagship new cancer centre in central London, which will include a revolutionary proton beam therapy unit.
Bouygues UK has finished work on the facility at the University College Hospital Grafton Way Building.
Created for University College London Hospital (UCLH), the landmark building also includes eight operating theatres, a surgical recovery area, a surgical ward, an imaging centre, a 10-bed critical care unit, and three floors of inpatient haematology wards.
Its completion marks the creation of one of Europe’s largest dedicated haemato-oncology hospitals which will provide treatment for those with complex cancers and blood disorders.
The centrepiece of the £380m development is a state-of-the-art proton beam therapy centre, only the second of its type in the UK.
The facility will treat 650 people with cancer and benign tumours each year, around a third of whom will be children and teenagers.
Proton beam therapy is able to deliver highly-targeted treatment that pinpoints a tumour while sparing the surrounding tissue, making it particularly beneficial for younger people as it protects IQ, general growth, and fertility.
Little did we know then the challenges that would come our way, from a global pandemic to Brexit – let alone the sheer complexity of constructing a hospital above ground and installing life-changing proton beam therapy equipment below ground
The new, 34,600sq m building is situated in a tight site within the Bloomsbury conservation area, close to two Grade II-listed UCL buildings and London Underground lines.
To create the necessary clinical space while respecting protected views and surrounding heritage, the 13-storey building, designed by Scott Tallon Walker Architects in association with Edward Williams Architects, includes a five-storey, 28m-deep basement equivalent in volume to the Royal Albert Hall.
The complex construction was project managed by AECOM and involved around 3,000 people.
The work included the removal of 80,000 cubic metres of earth from the site and the proton beam therapy centre required shielding around the equipment, including 44,000 cubic metres of concrete to form walls typically 2m thick, with areas up to 5m and reinforced with approximately 8,000 tonnes of steel.
Above ground the seven-level concrete-framed structure forms the L-shaped ‘perimeter’ building which sits along Grafton Way and Huntley Street.
The £380m development includes eight operating theatres, an imaging centre, and three floors of inpatient haematology wards
Sitting in the space in the middle is the lighter steel-framed courtyard building which is above where the PBT gantries are situated a few storeys below.
A covered atrium fills the space between this ‘pavilion-like’ courtyard building and the perimeter building while connections are provided through a series of lightweight stell bridges.
And, externally, a series of garden terraces have been created on the roofs of the courtyard to create a sanctuary for patients.
UCLH chief executive, David Probert, said: “Delivering healthcare is the work of people, but well-designed buildings make a huge difference to how effectively this can be achieved.
“Our new Grafton Way Building overcomes design and build challenges to deliver a comforting environment for patients alongside the very latest technology and equipment for our staff.”
The pandemic has further emphasised the importance of excellent healthcare for patients in a modern, considered environment designed to benefit the wellbeing of all users and promote recovery times
Fabienne Viala, chairman of Bouygues UK, added: “We favour complex projects where we can add value through our global experience and technical expertise.
“And this new state-of-the-art facility for UCLH is one of the most-complex public building projects ever undertaken.
“Its successful delivery is a result of collaboration, both among Bouygues colleagues and with UCLH and the wider project team, and it’s hugely rewarding to see the first patients beginning their treatment here, highlighting the potential that this facility has to transform people’s lives.”
And Sheila Carney, director of Scott Tallon Walker Architects, speaking for STW and Edward Williams Architects, told BBH: “We are incredibly proud of our team responsible for the design and delivery of this landmark building.
“The pandemic has further emphasised the importance of excellent healthcare for patients in a modern, considered environment designed to benefit the wellbeing of all users and promote recovery times.
“The design embraces the principles of direct visual access to natural daylight, nature, and landscape and maximises the use of natural materials and colour palettes throughout.”
Commenting on the project management approach, AECOM project director, Sam Danquah, said: “Almost six years ago, I stood on the site of a demolished cinema and hospital at Grafton Way, envisioning how we were going to project manage the build of something larger than the Royal Albert Hall beneath my feet.
The building houses one of only two proton beam therapy centres in the UK
“Little did we know then the challenges that would come our way, from a global pandemic to Brexit – let alone the sheer complexity of constructing a hospital above ground and installing life-changing proton beam therapy equipment below ground.
“Through problem solving, strong governance, and project controls, we met an ambitious delivery programme and budget.
“Seeing UCLH’s vision for a world-class healthcare facility in action brings an enormous sense of pride, not just in what the delivery partners achieved through collaboration, but in what the facility can to do transform patient outcomes”
The project team
Client: University College London NHS Foundation Trust
Project management: AECOM
Main contractor: Bouygues UK
Lead designer: Scott Tallon Walker
Architects: Scott Tallon Walker in association with Edward Williams Architects
Structural, civil, and geotechnical consultant: CampbellReith
Advisors BDP, Arup, Curtins, Ridge, Turner and Townsend, and Medical Architecture
Mechanical and electrical engineering consultants: WSP
The 13-storey building was designed by Scott Tallon Walker Architects in association with Edward Williams Architects