The Oriel – Moorfields Eye Hospital

The Oriel – Moorfields Eye Hospital

In London’s expanding Knowledge Quarter, on the site of the former St Pancras Hospital, the Oriel project is taking shape. The new urban hospital will bring together eye care, research and education in one integrated, flexible and sustainable facility, which will enable closer collaboration to transform the future of eye care.

World-leader in eye health services
The Oriel, with its 39 500 sqm, will be a new world-leading eye care centre, where architecture and design concepts are tools for orientation and for integrating staff, clinicians, researchers, students, patients and the public under one roof. The closer clinicians and researchers work, the faster they can develop new techniques and technologies to diagnose and treat conditions.

Design for senses
In this project we have developed a design strategy for the interiors and the external landscapes, including the ambience and lighting of all public spaces, for example good acoustics and healthy materials that have been incorporated into the design to promote wellbeing for patients and staff.

The experience of each person who uses the building is a constant thread through the design. That includes the entire journey, from transport nodes to arrival and orientation, interaction within the building and with other people, to the experience of leaving the building.

Client: Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Charity
Tenant: Moorfields Eye Hopspital and UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology
Location: Camden, London, UK
Lead Architect: AECOM
Lead Design Architect: Penoyre & Prasad
Design architects for the public spaces, including interior & landscaping: White Arkitekter
Size: 39 500 sqm
Certification: LEED Platinum
Completion: 2025/2026
Cost: 300 million GBP
Visuals: Penoyre & Prasad, White View

The experience of each person who uses the building is a constant thread through the design. That includes the entire journey, from transport nodes to arrival and orientation, interaction within the building and with other people, to the experience of leaving the building.
The public realm spaces will be designed in line with all accessibility standards and guidance. We’ll be making sure that the solutions we use for people to navigate from local transport hubs to our entrances will continue throughout the building and align with our internal wayfinding strategy.
Caroline Varnauskas, Lead Architect at White Arkitekter

Health-promoting materials and daylight
Using colours and materials inspired by natural landscapes as starting point, the material and colour scheme aims to create an atmosphere that is calm and appealing.

The interiors colour scheme works together with the lighting concept and natural daylight to strengthen sightlines, focal points and visual comfort. In this way the colour scheme is used to improve navigability and bring clarity to the building’s organisation.

Light, both natural and artificial, plays a crucial role in the creation of sustainable built environments and in endorsing people’s health and wellbeing. The lighting strategy for the Oriel has been designed focused on users’ needs, a concept that integrates daylight and electric light and takes into consideration the person, the task and the context in the best possible way.

The art is also an important element in creating a dynamic environment with variation between public and clinical environments and between the floors.

The care of details is important, the lighting in the handrails, the tactile surfaces, seating integrated with the greenery and colors for guidance.
Caroline Varnauskas

The atrium – the heart of the building
The building’s heart and social meeting hub, the atrium, is designed to create an inviting public space which welcomes everyone. Within the atrium rises the Oriel, which will contain spaces for patients to wait and for staff to meet, study and collaborate.

The design process for the atrium consider several areas, including levels of brightness, acoustics and wayfinding. It has natural and fair-faced materials mostly in wood.

By giving the atrium a distinctive tactile character, a contrast is established as the patients move across the plan, between the enclosed and controlled environments of the departments and the more public and tactile environment of the oriel and atrium.

We want to encourage interaction on these ground floors to maximise public activities and enliven the public realm. There will be areas for retail, cafés, and educational spaces allowing for a transparent and open front.
Caroline Varnauskas

Outdoor environments and roof terrace
The landscape design allows people to move freely, and to create spaces for both social activities and rest. A wide variety of plants have been chosen to add biodiversity and recreational values to the site.

The roof terrace allows a wide variety of activities. Different spaces allow for working outdoors, outdoor teaching, relaxing, urban gardening and social events. Vegetation is used to create a series of outdoor rooms. The aim is to create an outdoor environment that maximises the health benefits and at the same time utilises the ecosystem services provided by the urban nature. By doing so the project will not only contribute positively to the users of the roof terrace, but also to the site and the surrounding city, in order to reach the LEED Platinum Certification criteria.

The new eye-health centre would be within London’s Knowledge Quarter – an area which has one of the highest densities of knowledge based, cultural and scientific businesses anywhere in the world.

The aim is to strengthen the sense of nature, creating more green areas and using natural materials. Studies show a clear correlation between nature and the positive physical and psychological effects such as reduced stress levels.
Caroline Varnauskas

Contact & Team

Michael Woodford

Michael Woodford

Director of the London studio, Architect

+44 794 463 45 13

Caroline Varnauskas

Lead Architect

Charlotte Ruben

Architect, Healthcare specialist

Rafel Crespo Solana


Isabel Villar

Lighting design

Malin Alenius

Lighting design

Malin Lindell

Interior design

Jonathan Anderson

Landscape architecture

Erik Miron

Landscape architecture

Jerome Beresford

BIM Coordination

Richard Holmes

Project Manager

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