Great Ormond Street Hospital and Skanska celebrate topping out milestone

Press release 12/12/2017 11:00 CET

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) marked a crucial milestone in the construction of The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children recently with Skanska, as a topping out ceremony was held to mark the moment when the building reached its highest point.

Distinguished guests celebrate the topping out for the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children was made possible thanks to a generous £60 million gift from Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as well as Chairwoman of the UAE General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the UAE Family Development Foundation and President of the UAE Supreme Council of Motherhood and Childhood. The centre is a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), University College London (UCL) and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

The centre, being constructed by Swedish contractor Skanska, is due for completion at the end of 2018 and will be the first purpose-built centre of its kind in the world. It will bring together hundreds of clinicians and researchers under one roof to drive forward new treatments and cures for children with rare diseases, and will support translational research that focuses on taking discoveries from the lab bench to the patients’ bedsides.

GOSH sees children from more than 90 countries worldwide and specialises in the treatment of children with rare diseases. These include children from the UAE who come to GOSH to be treated for a range of conditions including rare heart and neurological conditions.

Work has now begun on the interior of the centre, which will house state-of-the-art laboratories and highly specialised facilities for the development of new gene and stem cell therapies as well as a much-needed outpatients clinic.

The construction of the building involved the demolition of an office block built in the 1960s which was being used by the University of London and had been disused for some time. Designed by award-winning architects Stanton Williams, construction of the new building began in 2017 by Skanska who is responsible for the construction, mechanical and electrical fit-out of the facility.

On completion, the building will include:

  • 4,200m³ concrete  to build the frame, weighing 10,500 tonnes
  • 520 tonnes of steel used in the building structure
  • 5,000 metres of drywall partitions
  • 13,000m² of floor space
  • 2,500m² of glass within the external walls
  • A BREEAM rating of excellent.

Peter Steer, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate this important milestone which marks the culmination of many months of work with our contractors and UCL in the construction of The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children. By creating a facility that brings patients, clinicians, and scientists together in one place we will advance pioneering research into paediatric rare diseases further and faster. The work we do here will help children with rare conditions across the world to thrive and fulfil their potential.”

Tim Johnson, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, added: “I would like to thank the family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Thanks to their generosity the charity has been able to support GOSH to discover new treatments and cures for children with complex and rare conditions both at the hospital and across the UK.”

The topping out event was celebrated with a traditional Scandinavian ‘flying of the fir’ in which a fir tree was flown over the building by tower crane, as well as a final pouring of cement, in a rooftop ceremony. In attendance were His Excellency Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazroui, the UAE Ambassador in the UK and Her Excellency Professor Maha Barakat, Advisor to the Executive Council in Abu Dhabi.