Moorfields Eye Hospital is holding an RIBA-led international competition for a major new eye-care, research and educational facility at St Pancras Hospital in central London
Open to ‘innovative’ multidisciplinary design teams, the contest seeks proposals for a landmark new home for Moorfields, moving from its current City Road premises, and bringing together healthcare, research and educational activities under a single roof for the first time.
The project will create a ‘flexible and modern’ facility within the historic St Pancras Hospital complex, scheduled to open in 2024. It is backed by Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Moorfields), University College London (UCL) and Moorfields Eye Charity (MEC).
Moorfields chief executive David Probert said: ‘The launch of this RIBA-led design competition is an exciting step forward in our proposal to relocate our City Road services to a new, state-of-the-art, integrated facility for eye research, education and care with our project partners.
‘We want to create a new, flexible and modern facility to enable us to continue to deliver the best eye care to our patients and to attract and retain the very best ophthalmic scientists, educators and clinicians in the world.’
Alan Thompson, dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences at UCL said: ‘World class research and education facilities are essential in developing new treatments, interventions and technologies that will improve patient, student and staff outcomes.
‘A new facility that integrates eye care, research and education in a single building will drive innovation and invention and encourage groundbreaking research into eye health.’
The globally recognised Moorfields Eye Hospital was founded in 1805 and moved to its present site on City Road near Old Street Underground Station in 1899. The complex, which includes the neighbouring UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, is one of the specialism’s largest treatment, teaching and research bases in Europe.
St Pancras Hospital, located next to St Pancras International Station and the £5 billion Francis Crick Institute, currently specialises in geriatric and psychiatric medicine.
Multidisciplinary design teams interested in taking on the ‘rare and complex design challenge’ are invited to complete a selection questionnaire. Five shortlisted teams will then receive an equal honorarium of £15,000 to prepare design proposals.
The deadline for applications is 2pm, 13 July.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information
No.1 Aire Street
Andrew Dick, director of UCL-Institute of Ophthalmology and Duke-Elder chair of Ophthalmology
Why are you holding a competition for a new combined healthcare, research and educational facility at St Pancras Hospital?
Our proposal to build a new, integrated eye care, research and education facility is a significant and high-profile project. Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (UCL IoO) both have established global reputations of excellence, and are top-ranked internationally as stand-alone institutions in the field of ophthalmology and vision science. As such, it is fitting that we aim to build a new, modern and flexible facility that reflects our vision and our organisational reputation.
Given this, and our ambitious aim to provide a flexible and modern centre of excellence under the translational model of research and care, we know that we must procure a multi-disciplinary, innovative and specialised design team for this once in a generation project. Through this RIBA led competition, we hope to attract talent with diverse and excellent experience from across the world.
This is a rare opportunity for a team from the UK or internationally to design a new facility in an important regeneration and conservation area in the heart of London.
What is your vision for the new combined Moorfields-UCL facility?
Our vision is to create an environment for innovation to flourish, inspiring improvements in people’s sight and scientific discovery. This proposed joint facility is about more than a physical building. It will be a catalyst to implement new, modern and innovative ways of working. As such, it is integral the new facility enables much closer integration between Moorfields and UCL IoO. Through this new facility, we want to create the best possible patient experience; attract and retain the best people; attract investment; and train the next generation of researchers and clinicians.
Our preferred site is a section of land at the site of St Pancras Hospital. Currently, we envisage the building to have an area of approximately 45,000 square metres. We have deliberately kept our preferred aesthetics high-level, to inspire creativity in our potential design teams.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
Through this RIBA led competition, we hope to attract teams with outstanding track records of achieving the highest architectural design standards. This doesn’t have to be limited to NHS, research or higher education. We want a team that is creative, innovative and contemporary, but who are sensitive to the constraints of building in a London conservation area.
We want a team who will take into consideration that many of our patients and stakeholders have sight loss, and who will actively work with this group to inform the design. We want to work with a team that is passionate about designing a facility in central London that will provide the very best eye care, research and education facilities in a flexible, modern and multi-functional environment.
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
Both Moorfields and UCL are constantly working to improve facilities for their patients, students and staff. Moorfields Eye Hospital is in the process of refurbishing the Duke Elder ward at Moorfields Eye Centre at St George’s Hospital which will provide an improved, redesigned clinical environment for patients and staff.
At the Institute of Ophthalmology we are refurbishing laboratories, facilities and offices fit for our outstanding basic scientists and create an environment promoting innovation and collaboration.
Are there any other combined healthcare, research and educational projects you have been impressed by?
The redevelopment of the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool is an inspiring example of a modern and innovative health centre. Opened in October 2016, it evidences how new, exciting design ideas – particularly in their excellent and innovative use of outdoor space – can create a welcoming and functional health facility.
The design team put patients at the heart of this facility, designing a centre based on patient needs, rather than what a hospital has historically looked like. The challenge and excitement going forward will be how to design a building for clinical care, education and our rich panoply of research.