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'Blood Railway' bags inaugural Foster + Partners award

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A scheme for an underground blood distribution network has won the Architectural Association’s first ever Foster + Partners Prize for Sustainability and Infrastructure

Aimee O’Carroll’s prize-winning Whitechapel Urban Artery design links inner London hospitals to a blood bank distribution hub using an underground ‘medi rail’ network.

O’Carroll said: ‘Today’s urban environments have increasing increasingly complex infrastructural systems above and below ground. We should foster a willingness to exploit the overlaps between these infrastructures, both new and old in order to develop unexpected benefits for the city.’

Her infrastructure plans detail the development of a medical transport hub, focused on a blood bank at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. 

Volumetric relationships of the blood bank inhabiting within the skeleton of the existing building - explored through collage

Volumetric relationships of the blood bank inhabiting within the skeleton of the existing building - explored through collage

The hub would connect central London hospitals via an underground rail network, taking medical supplies from the streets to the rail lines below. The scheme ensures quick and efficient provision of vital supplies across central London.

The project acknowledges the reopening of the East London Line and Crossrail’s impact on Whitechapel, exploring the reuse of ‘Mail Rail’, a London rail line once used by Royal Mail and the Royal London Hospital expansion.

The prize focuses on sustainability and infrastructure, attempting to highlight interests common to the practice and the school.

O’Carroll’s work will be displayed at Foster + Partners’ studio in September.

 

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