Evelina Children’s Hospital

Buro Happold
  • Evelina Childrens Hospital corner
  • Evelina Childrens Hospital end
  • Evelina Childrens Hospital side view

1 / Introduction

Designed to be ‘a hospital that doesn’t feel like a hospital’, Evelina Children’s Hospital provides a bright and spacious environment that is designed to be engaging, fun and exciting for children – who, more than any other patient, might feel fearful about their stay – while also delivering a functional, fully operational hospital. Evelina was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize.


Key facts

  • First new children’s hospital for 100 years
  • 16,500 m2 seven storey glass fronted building
  • Winner of the 2006 IStructE Award for best Healthcare building 
  • Approximately 6,500 square meters of glass used in construction 

Related Disciplines

The Project Details

  • Client:
    Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust
  • Architect:
    Michael Hopkins and Partners
  • Services:
    Structural engineering, fire engineering, planning supervision
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2 / Challenge

Central to the new building is a vast open atrium, designed to create a warm, bright and cheerful atmosphere for the children, which forms the main communal area. It is overlooked by every ward in the hospital, with healthy natural daylight finding its way to every bed through the expanse of glass. Achieving the vision for the atrium was key in Evelina’s mission to create an open and welcoming environment for its vulnerable young patients.

3 / Solution

As Evelina’s defining feature, the extensive atrium presented the structural team with fascinating challenges. In order to design such a large open space, with no beams and a huge glass roof, our engineers had to be truly creative. With such complicated geometry, we had to be in no doubt that our design would hold up in terms of structural tolerance, buildability and the effects of any movement of the building itself. The roof’s glass panels are attached to a steel diagrid structure, made up of diagonally intersecting ribs.

To further protect the hospital’s patients, our fire protection team developed a package of passive and active measures to save lives in case of fire. While the open spaces created the best environment for the children, fire and smoke could spread rapidly and the expanse of glass, if it shattered, could pose a serious danger to life. Our team of specialists designed in a smoke-sealed façade and toughened glass in the atrium, as well as life-saving sprinklers. The fire strategy was further strengthened by the provision of a specially designed entrance for fire engines at ground level.

4 / Value

Throughout the scheme’s development, Buro Happold worked closely with the architect, contractor and building services team to create a cheerful environment promoting care and recovery for some of our youngest and most vulnerable patients – while generating the innovative structural solutions our client both needed and deserved. Evelina won the IStructE Award for Best Healthcare Building in 2007.

‘The technical facilities, normally associated with fear, are made pleasant and inviting, and daylight reaches every hospital bed. Here the patient, not the institution, is given priority.’

RIBA spokesperson