East Wing, Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital, London

Specialist Contractor and Health Award Winner. Entrant: Colorminium

The poorly performing original elevation was repaired and overclad  to create a thermally efficient double-skin facade.
The poorly performing original elevation was repaired and overclad to create a thermally efficient double-skin facade. Credit: Hufton & Crow

Daily testing of radiation levels was one of the more unusual conditions that Colorminium took in its stride when working on the overcladding of the East Wing of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital in central London. Its skilful realisation of Hopkins Architects’ design was the runaway winner of both the specialist contractor and health categories.

Judges were impressed not only with the technical virtuosity that went into the detailing and installation of the secondary facade, but the delicate and elegant result – and the hospital remained fully operational throughout.

The new unitised facade is hung off cantilevered rooftop steelwork.
The new unitised facade is hung off cantilevered rooftop steelwork. Credit: Hufton & Crow

The 13-storey project entailed overcladding the poorly performing 1960s building to create a thermally efficient double-skin facade. This was achieved using 4 x 4.5m unitised panels set 1.2m away from the old facade. Structural limitations of the building meant these had to be fixed to external tie-rods hung off rooftop cantilevered steelwork.

The Schueco USC 65 installation utilised a specially designed connection that accommodated expansion and contraction of the rods and the steel beam deflections and included integral louvres and brise soleil, the latter with a pivot detail for easy cleaning.

Stainless steel support arms accommodate building movement and allow the facade to move independently of the existing building.
Stainless steel support arms accommodate building movement and allow the facade to move independently of the existing building. Credit: Hufton & Crow

Fire-rated walkways at each level provide access for cleaning and maintenance. ‘It’s phenomenal from an engineering aspect, and unusual that the double facade was installed from the top down,’ said judge Greg Sinclair. The overcladding took 20 weeks on site, with Colorminium facing challenges at every stage, from initial investigations into the state of the original facade to the logistics of getting the panels to the site.

‘Because of the height of the units we were very restricted with transport routes and because we could only store two days’ worth of panels on site, we had to organise a daily drip-feed of deliveries,’ said construction director Kieran Mallinson.

Installation was further complicated by the need to keep the ground floor clear for ambulances, leading to the construction of a large first floor gantry.

Installers worked from the top down to fix the rods and walkways before working their way back up as they installed the Schueco system. Those working close to the x-ray department were checked daily for radiation levels as a precaution.

Judge Steve Mudie was impressed with the skilfully engineered use of Schueco systems to realise the architect’s ambition for a high performing secondary facade that improved the appearance of the building.

‘They’ve taken functionality and created the architecture out of that. When you see the end result, it’s quite beautiful.’


Client Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Architect Hopkins Architects Partnership
Engineer  Arup
Main contractor ISG
Specialist contractor Colorminium


Specialist Contractor Commended

Queens, Queensway, Bayswater, London - Entrants: Propak Architectural Glazing; Structura UK

University of Ulster Belfast Campus Block BB - Entrant: Frameworks Facades
(a division of McLaughlin & Harvey)


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