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CarverHaggard creates a lightweight canopy at Hopkins’ Evelina Children’s Hospital

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The small meeting and work space for medical staff is formed by interlocking plywood strips

CarverHaggard has recently completed a new freestanding workspace pavilion in Evelina Children’s Hospital, part of the St Thomas’ Hospital campus. A lightweight canopy structure provides shading, lighting and privacy for medical staff working within the main atrium space, looking over Archbishop’s Park.

Evelina Children’s Hospital was designed by Hopkins Architects and completed in 2005. The identity of each space was developed in collaboration with a group of children, and the social heart of the building is the ‘Beach’ space at the base of the atrium, with potted palm trees and views onto the park.

In 2016, the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust held an invited competition to create a small workspace and meeting area for medical staff in the atrium, enabling them to rationalise internal layouts and provide extra clinical space in the wards.

6731 evelina carverhaggard ph max creasy 2000px

6731 evelina carverhaggard ph max creasy 2000px

Source: Max Creasy

CarverHaggard’s winning proposal was for a lightweight canopy structure and a screen to provide shading and lighting within the atrium space, providing privacy to staff holding informal meetings, dictating or typing up notes, or working on fixed and mobile workstations.

The structure is a hybrid of laser-cut spruce plywood and light grey machined steel components. The canopy is created from a series of seven folding scissor trusses, draped with weighted strips of raw canvas which diffuse the bright light from the sky during the day, and provide a surface for uplighting in lower light conditions. A folded screen of interlocking plywood strips creates a subtle spatial division between the workspace and the public café area.

The pavilion catches the light and changes in appearance from different viewing angles and at different times of day, perhaps suggesting images of deckchairs, sails or waves in the context of the ‘Beach’ floor.

The structural design was developed with Structure Workshop, and incorporates longitudinal cable-braced beams running perpendicular to the timber scissor trusses within the same depth, to create a form of hybrid space frame, supported on pin joints to four freestanding steel columns. The components were fabricated off-site and installed over a weekend to minimise disruption to users.

Project data

Start on site November 2016
Completion December 2016
Gross internal floor area Canopy area 72m², workspace area 80m²
Form of contract Direct order
Construction cost £40,000
Construction cost per m²
 £500 for canopy and enclosure
Architect CarverHaggard
Client Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust
Structural engineer Structure Workshop
Project manager Essentia
Main contractor Wyliewood
Timber supplier James Latham
CAD software used Vectorworks 

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