The Children’s Hospital stands on a confined urban site with little room for expansion. When the need arose for a new suite of laboratories to house a centre for research into meningitis, the most suitable place was identified as being the roof of an existing laboratory. It was therefore necessary to design a building which was light enough not to overload the existing foundations while at the same time achieving a three-dimensional expression appropriate to its urban context.
Stressed-skin plywood construction was adopted to cope with the former problem and panels were prefabricated to ease erection on the confined site. Externally, the building was clad in stone coloured, fibre cement panels, fixed in a horizontal pattern of stepped layers and emphasised by continuous metal sills, to provide a lightweight and durable cladding which would mediate in colour and scale between the adjoining buildings and relate to the nearby St George’s Church.