Stanton Williams-designed facility will house 350 specialists

A £90m child illness research centre designed by Stanton Williams has been approved by planners.

The Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children will be built at Great Ormond Street Hospital in a partnership with University College London.

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.

It will enable clinicians and researchers to work side by side in advancing the understanding of rare diseases, identifying new and better treatments and manufacturing innovative medical devices.

Two-thirds of the cost has been provided by the wife of the founder of the United Arab Emirates, with the rest coming from fundraising and UK grants.

Stanton Williams director 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.”

Planning officers at Camden council said the design would be 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”.

Construction is expected to start this October with the building due to open in 2018.