The Friends Garden

Construction year: 2008
Address: 3 Powis Pl | LONDON | United Kingdom | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5225, -0.12078

For The Friends Garden Spacelab were first approached by Great Ormond Street Hospital to complete a feasibility study for a very challenging rooftop site that was situated 7 Floors upon a recently completed clinical building on the Great Ormond Street Site.

The ‘Friends of Great Ormond Street’ (a charity funding schemes at the hospital) wanted to create a non-clinical environment for the staff of the hospital providing them with a place to relax, socialize and replenish.

The client requested Spacelab work in collaboration with a well known Landscape Designer to create a space that was both enthusing and relaxing. A competition was held in which Chelsea Gold medalist Andy Sturgeon was appointed to work with Spacelab on the scheme.

During the design process the 7/7 bombings happened in London and as a result tragically 2 of the great Ormond Street staff members were killed, in turn the hospital asked the design team to incorporate a fitting tribute into the garden, such that it would not only be a place for staff to unwind, but also a place where they could remember and contemplate their colleagues.

The hospital approached the families and friends of the two members of staff who provided words and phrases that they believed represented them and these have been strategically placed around the garden to commemorate their lives.

There were obvious constraints when designing and constructing building, the most challenging being the location. With the site being 7 floors up and on top of an existing slab the design team had to pay particular attention to the weight of the materials and structure whilst also looking at prefabricated elements that could be ‘bolted together’ once on site.

The pavilion creates an enclosure to the garden providing enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces which can all be completely opened up onto the garden creating a seamless transition between inside and outside. The pavilion is a steel structure clad in powder-coated steel with aluminum sliding/folding doors which utilizes the existing the structural base supports to great effect.

In the garden varied hard and soft landscaping is used along with planting to create a series of semi-private areas for eating, sitting, socializing or just relaxing lying on the grass. The two glue-lam timber hoops add a sculptural element to the garden whilst also framing the rooftop views over London.

The Project began in December 2007 and was completed in June 2008 and had the complication of 5 crane lifts and 7 road closures during the build.

As the project was funded by the ‘Friends’ Charity the build budget was set in stone from the beginning with no contingency or further money available. The design team skillfully managed to bring the project in on budget.

Client: Great Ormond Street Hospital Trust
Landscape Architect: Andy Sturgeon Garden Design
Landscape Contractor: The English Garden Company

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