London Animal Hospital (TLAH)
- Original design
- Alma-nac, 2017
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
The brief : to transform a 450sqm dilapidated industrial building into a welcoming, state of the art, 24-hour animal hospital for a budget of £550,000
Through research and strong client collaboration, alma-nac ensured the design exceeded the original brief, providing a space that is functional and delivered on budget, but was also efficiently arranged, powered sustainably, health focussed, de-stressing to patient, client and staff and light hearted.
The design was especially focussed on the de-stressing of the users of the space – in-line with existing research that found relaxed workers and owners created relaxed pets and relaxed pets responded better to treatment. Stress reduction techniques extended throughout the design from general arrangement to acoustic control and colour palette.
The site, an old warehouse set in the back streets of Camberwell, was constrained in terms of access and proportion and in a bad state of repair. Retaining the exterior walls, slab and steel trusses, alma-nac introduced a layout that converted the linear site layout into a combined flow diagram of use for animal, owner and surgeon. General arrangement allowed for the separation of antagonistic animal types upon entrance, then ensured this separation continued throughout the diagnosis, long stay accommodation, and surgery spaces through to their exit.
Alma-nac were committed to providing a high quality design on a full construction budget of only £1200/sqm. This was accomplished through innovative use of low cost materials and the careful use of a distinct colour palette. Plywood was stained to create an inexpensive yet robust finish, complemented with the use of polycarbonate sheet. Wayfinding was coordinated with colour banding of walls, floors and exposed truss. Furniture was designed and cnc’d by alma-nac, with playful forms implemented to create a sense of cheer. Decorative tiles, coat hooks and lead stays were ‘hidden’ throughout the space, for users to happen across.
The Hospital has a large array of technical requirements. A new CT scanner, the first of its kind in Europe was accommodated along with two surgical theatres, four consult rooms, a laboratory, isolation ward, noise isolated dog and cat wards, and x-ray room, all coordinated without the budget for specialist consultant M&E consultant.
At the detail level, materials were specified that provided ease of cleanliness or natural anti-bacterial properties. Building materials were checked for latent health impacts, including any off-gassing, leading to the use of ecological paints and varnishes, and the avoidance of any mdf, ensuring a space that was as focussed on the holistic wellbeing of the patients as possible. Sustainable features were introduced, including a 6KW photovoltaic system, air source heat pump to heat and cool the building and a 2000 litre rainwater harvesting tank.
This is a community building, designed to be as welcoming as possible. Waiting spaces are designed to encourage local pet owners to meet, ensuring community engagement will follow inherently. With a strong focus on a relaxing the users of the building, we anticipate the hospital becoming rooted in both local and wider community in a very short period of time.