Sun, March 3, 2013

Lullaby Factory, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children // Studio Weave

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Studio Weave has transformed an awkward exterior space landlocked by buildings into the Lullaby Factory – a secret world that cannot be seen except from inside the hospital and cannot be heard by the naked ear, only by tuning in to its radio frequency or from a few special listening pipes.

The multi-phased redevelopment of Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London’s Bloomsbury area, means that the recently completed Morgan Stanley Clinical Building and the 1930s Southwood Building currently sit very close together. The latter is due to be demolished in 15 years, but in the intervening period large windows in the west elevation of the MSCB look directly onto a pipe-ridden brickwork facade, with the gap between the two less than one metre in places.

In their competition entry Studio Weave proposed that the Southwood Building, with its oodles of mysterious pipes and plant is not really the Southwood Building, but the Lullaby Factory, manufacturing and releasing gentle, beautiful lullabies to create a calming and uplifting environment for the young patients to recover in.

The aim for this project was to re-imagine the Southwood façade as the best version of itself, accepting and celebrating its qualities and oddities; and rather than hiding what is difficult, creating something unique and site specific.

Architects of Studio Weave have designed a fantasy landscape reaching ten storeys in height and 32 metres in length, which can engage the imagination of everyone, from patients and parents to hospital staff, by providing an interesting and curious world to peer out onto. Aesthetically the Lullaby Factory is a mix of an exciting and romantic vision of industry, and the highly crafted beauty and complexity of musical instruments.

The Lullaby Factory consists of two complimentary elements: the physical factory that appears to carry out the processes of making lullabies and the soundscape. Composer and sound artist Jessica Curry has composed a brand new lullaby especially for the project, which children can engage with through listening pipes next to the canteen or from the wards by tuning into a special radio station.

The design is mindful of the fact that the space between the two buildings is very tight and any attempt to tidy it up too much would have resulted in significantly reducing the sense of space and the amount of daylight reaching inside the surrounding buildings.

The architects hope the project will inspire engagement in a variety of ways from children’s paintings to a resource for play specialists to a generator for future commissions. Their design incorporates old tap and gauges (see above) reclaimed from a hospital boilerhouse that was in the process of being decommissioned.

Studio Weave
Images © Studio Weave

 

 

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