Plans to create a world-leading new Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children were approved by councillors at Camden Town Hall on Tuesday 3 March 2015.
The building, which is designed by award-winning architects Stanton Williams, will enable clinicians and researchers to work side-by-side in advancing our understanding of rare diseases, identifying new and better treatments and manufacturing innovative medical devices.
The centre is being developed as a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), University College London (UCL) and the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. Situated adjacent to the hospital, it will incorporate an outpatient department that will host clinics for children and young people with a range of rare and complex conditions. It will also house a variety of laboratories, specialist equipment rooms and workspaces where more than 350 experts will develop diagnostic procedures, manufacture gene and cell therapies and create personalised medical devices.
The total cost of the centre is expected to be £90 million, which has been met principally by a transformative gift of £60m from Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates. It will also be funded
by £20 million of fundraising income from Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and a £10 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Research Partnership Investment Fund.
Rare diseases represent a considerable health burden globally and can affect one in 17 people at some stage of their lives. They are particularly prevalent in children and nearly one third of the children affected will die before their fifth birthday.
Paediatric Consultant Immunologist Professor Bobby Gaspar is the Director Designate for the Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children. He attended the committee to explain the benefits of the scheme to councillors and today welcomed their approval for planning permission:
“This is a significant milestone towards our vision to create a facility that will offer a beacon of hope to children and families affected by rare disease across the world. Together GOSH and the UCL Institute of Child Health (UCL ICH) see one of the largest patient cohorts for rare disease in the world. Our combination of specialist expertise and a diverse patient population puts us in a unique position to harness new discoveries and ensure that patients start benefitting from them as quickly as possible. This new building will support us in working more closely together towards that goal.”
Stanton Williams Director Gavin Henderson attended the committee to answer questions about the design of the building. The new design was recognised by the planning officers as providing “a suitable high quality back drop to Coram’s Fields” and “a significant improvement over the existing building”, enhancing the character and appearance of the Conservation Area through “its consideration to form, architectural composition and material palette”.
Gavin Henderson said: “The building has been carefully designed to be sensitive to its context within a conservation area, revitalise the streetscape and give public expression to the important scientific endeavours within. Internally, the design of the new centre promotes interaction between patients and research staff. Extensive glazing offering views into the lower ground laboratories and a carefully articulated network of vertical terracotta fins gives a strong visual identity to the facades opposite Coram's Fields, reflecting the public significance of the building and the important work taking place inside.”
Construction of the Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children is expected to commence in October 2015 and the building will open in 2018.
For further information please contact Cassandra Miners at Great Ormond Street Hospital on 0207 239 3126.
For genuine and urgent out-of-hours queries call switchboard on 020 7405 9200.
Notes to Editors
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust is the country’s leading centre for treating sick children, with the widest range of specialists under one roof.
With the UCL Institute of Child Health, we are the largest centre for paediatric research outside the US and play a key role in training children’s health specialists for the future.
Our charity need to raise vital funds to help rebuild and refurbish Great Ormond Street Hospital, buy vital equipment and fund pioneering research. With your help we provide world class care to our very ill children and their families.