Guy's Cancer Centre

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, London, 2016


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The building is effectively a stack of four ‘villages’ 

Morley von Sternberg     Download Original

  • The building is effectively a stack of four ‘villages’    
  • View of the cancer centre next to the main hospital    
  • Metal louvres and brightly coloured panelling on the façades    
  • Every room has a full floor-to-ceiling window which provides views out and allows natural ventilation    
  • General lighting is by Whitecroft/Thorn    
  • View of the louvres from the interior    
  • When patients enter a village, they encounter an open area with a two-level staircase    
  • Most cancer treatment at Guy’s and St Thomas’ will now be provided under one roof    
  • Feature lighting is by Sill Lighting/Lightworks    
  • The building receives up to 800 patients a day    
  • Isometric drawing    
  • Level 1 plan    
  • Level 4 plan    
  • Level 5 plan    
  • Level 6 plan    
  • Level 7 plan    
  • Section AA    
  • North elevation    
  • Development sketch    

At Guy’s Hospital Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has attempted to create a cancer centre focused on the patients.

The building at Guy’s Hospital in London, which receives up to 800 patients a day, sits on a triangular site 50m south of Guy’s main entrance on Great Maze Pond near London Bridge. Two main forces guided the design: a top-down belief that patients should not feel immediately immersed in clinical spaces; and intense collaboration between the architects and the patients’ reference group.

Contractor Laing O’Rourke led the delivery of a project whose compact street setting required 60 per cent of the structure to be prefabricated. The building is effectively a stack of four ‘villages’: a welcome village; a three-storey radiotherapy village; a two-floor outpatients village; and a three-level chemotherapy, pharmacy and research laboratory beneath the private patients’ zone. The ‘village’ vertical-organising principle grew out of the desire to humanise the scale of a multi-storey tower.

The base level of each village has a full-plan 1,750m² floorplate, and patients enter double-height reception volumes from glazed lift shafts projecting from the southern façade. The cancer centre has several unusual structural and technical features. Typically, the radiotherapy units would have been at basement level, had it not been for the remains of a large 2,000-year-old Roman boat lying under the site. This required a protective 800m³ concrete bridge-slab 2.8m thick.

The chemotherapy village is centered on providing intimate and flexible patient and staff interaction areas. Patients, who can spend up to eight hours in the unit, choose from either a larger day-lit communal area or a more private space, depending on the acuity of their disease or their mood on the day. The inclusion of an adjacent acute oncology unit, aseptic pharmacy and clinical trials base provides efficient care and an enhanced patient experience.


  • Begun: 2010
  • Completed: 2016
  • Sector: Healthcare
  • Total cost: £160M
  • CO2 Emissions: 116kg/m2/year
  • Address: Guy’s Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London, SE1 9RT, United Kingdom

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