The Ark, Noah's Ark Children's Hospice

The Ark, Noah's Ark Children's Hospice, Squire & Partners

Client (/developer) - Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice Architect - Squire & Partners Landscape architect - Gensler Structural engineer - Ramboll M&E consultant/Sustainability engineer - KUT Main contractor - 8Build Timber frame - Carpenter Oak

The Ark is the first new hospice building in London for 10 years and the first purpose-built facility for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice – who previously provided care for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families in homes or hired halls.

The brief sought an inspiring space for palliative care, relaxation and adventure within a ‘home-from-home’ environment, designed for the needs of children. Set on the natural incline of its 7.5-acre nature reserve setting, The Ark is discreetly carved into the hillside, offering a holistic indoor-outdoor care journey not restricted to treatment rooms but which begins upon arrival, expands through the building and continues to the therapeutic gardens, demon-strating the ultimate link between palliative care, wellbeing and nature.

A double-height oak framed entrance hall, glazed at each end, creates a light, striking open volume as an uplifting space for families to come together. Four brick-clad wings leading off the central hall provide space for therapies, children’s bedrooms, family rooms and administration. At lower ground, private functions include bereavement suites and a multi-faith room.

Special care was taken to ensure that wheelchairs and beds could access virtually all spaces, including external terraces and gardens, with inbuilt hoists creating a fully-accessible environment. The Ark was achieved through a unique collaboration between the design, property and construction sectors, with collaborators involved in all stages of the development – from concept and fundraising through to planning and delivery – making the project possible by working on a pro bono or non-profit basis.