King’s College Hospital Trust

  • Client: King’s College Hospital Trust, London
  • Project: The Guthrie Wing

King’s College Hospital in South East London comprises 11 acres of buildings, which is hemmed in by the major thoroughfare of Denmark Hill to the east, a rail link to the south and by dense urban housing to the north and west. The client needed to increase provision within the existing site area.

This project, taking into account these pressures, was to investigate the feasibility of an audacious scheme to construct three floors (each of approximately 750 m2) above the existing three-storey Guthrie Wing. The new accommodation is for one specialist ward for cystic fibrosis treatment and two general wards and is to include all ancillary rooms and the extensive services installation that is part of any modern medical facility. Our proposals included a dedicated floor for plant above the wards.

As if this were not complicated enough we were also tasked with co-ordinating two adjacent projects that were being constructed on the site. One was for a critical care unit (again to be built over a multi-storey wing) and the other for a new helipad to be built on the roof of the ten-storey ‘Ruskin Building’. There was also to be a new vertical circulation core from the helipad to the main hospital linked to all the floors of the new developments and giving easy access to the main hospital ‘street’ on the ground floor and to the Accident and Emergency Department.

The study required the resolution of the conflicting requirements of the structural and services engineers both of whom had serious challenges to overcome. The final complexity of the project was the need to ensure that the hospital, including the buildings to be built over, was able to continue functioning without interruption.

After intensive discussions with the consultant engineers a structural solution based predominantly on external steel columns was agreed in order to minimise disruption. Some columns, however, had to be taken through the existing building. The structural scheme was also tailored to suit services installation. However, it was essential that these technical considerations should not be allowed to compromise the architectural scheme and the delivery of the Client’s detailed brief for both the new and existing accommodation.

The project is under constant financial scrutiny with regular cost checks and is to be carried out in carefully programmed phases. Phase One, a contract for piled foundations, is underway on site with an anticipated cost of £950,000. Subsequent phases will follow as determined by the client and available funding. The estimated total cost of the project is approximately £20 million.