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Monday28 July 2014

Underground forest

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Sky views for Ansell & Bailey’s basement radiography suite at the Royal Marsden

Four new radiography suites have been buried three storeys underground in a new extension to the world famous cancer hospital’s site in Sutton, south west London. By bringing in extensive top light to an entrance hall planted with concrete columns, architect Ansell & Bailey has created a sense of a subterranean dappled forest.

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The new facilities are horizontally linked to the existing basement radiotherapy suites, but as the site sloped upwards, the project involved excavating 50 000 sqm of chalk. Below ground car parking facilities sit above the treatment facilities.

The focal point above ground is a striking entrance hall, linked by lift to the central atrium, which is the core of the reorganised patient space. Columns lift the eyes to a series of green-framed roof-lights offering views of the sky.

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In the atrium, patients are greeted by staff then escorted to one of four treatment suites - each with a radiography room, control room and preparation room - that lead off the central atrium to minimise travel time between areas.

Picking up on the forest theme, the suites are called Cedar, Juniper, Rowan and Beech. The complex also contains consulting and interview rooms, and a children’s area. “It’s a very high-tech facility, but we also wanted to create a great patient environment,” says partner Ian Butterfield.

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The practice is also working at the hospital’s west London site, ravaged by fire in January. Ansell & Bailey has worked to replace roof-mounted plant in a block of operating theatres that was otherwise undamaged, and is working with the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust on the future strategy for the site.

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