The East Wing is a 13-storey tower in the centre of the St Thomas’ hospital site, opposite the Houses of Parliament. This striking landmark on the south London skyline contains more than 200 beds as well as some of the hospital’s most important clinical services. Built in 1966, it had become in a poor state of repair suffering from water ingress and excessive solar gain.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust ran a competition to find an architectural solution to these problems, which would entail minimal disruption to the patients.
Hopkins Architects’ proposed solution was to leave the original façade in place and to add a secondary façade, in glass, that would weatherproof the building and improve energy efficiency.
Colorminium was appointed to the project as façade specialists and commissioned Clear Structures to design the glazing elements.
The external glass wall was installed to the north elevation of the hospital. It extends one metre beyond the existing façade and walkways were provided between the original and new façades to provide access for maintenance.
The screen is hung from steelwork that projects from the roof on high tensile Macalloy stainless steel rods and is bracketed back at each floor level via special brackets to allow for differential movement.
The extremely tight site made installation very challenging. The façade is made of Schuco unitised curtain walling which can be installed, fully assembled, in sections, thereby increasing safety by minimising the amount of work carried out at height.
In addition, a terrace was built on the top walkway, which included an integral balustrade. Openings were cut in the existing façade and sliding doorsets installed to provide access to the terrace. Further areas of curtain walling to lift shafts and link bridges were also included.
At the rear of the building the new glazing has been extended to create two triangular atria, which provide extra space for new bed lifts.