The GBP 60 million Evelina Children's Hospital opened this week at St Thomas', bringing the majority of Guy's and St Thomas' children's services together under one roof.
The new Evelina, which was designed by Hopkins Architects and has been dubbed 'a hospital unlike any other', has been funded by a grant of £50 million from Guy's and St Thomas' Charity and £10 million from the NHS.
Serving children in the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, as well as offering specialist care for children from across south east England and further afield (including internationally), the Evelina is a hospital created by children for children.
Young patients and their families have been involved in shaping its environment and architecture from the earliest stages of design, resulting in a state-of-the-art hospital that redefines expectations.
"We wanted the new Evelina Children's Hospital to be much more than a landmark building on a landmark site," said Sir Jonathan Michael, chief executive, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. "Our aim has been to create a hospital that does not feel like a hospital by involving children, their families and our staff in every stage of the design process.
"The result is truly inspirational. The new Evelina is a supremely practical, state-of-the-art hospital, but one that is full of imagination, warmth and fun. It redefines the concept of a children's hospital and will undoubtedly influence the building of new hospitals in Britain and across the world."
Bright red rocket lifts, clearly visible from inside and outside the hospital, carry people to a four-storey central conservatory. Throughout the hospital, lively artwork, funded by Guy's and St Thomas' Charity, creates a welcoming, friendly atmosphere, whilst each floor of the hospital has been given a colour and a symbol taken from the natural world – from Ocean and Beach through to Savannah and Sky. Crucially this also avoids the need for a complex multi-lingual direction system to deal with the 140 languages spoken by local patients.
The hospital also has many play areas, as well as a 17-foot high helter skelter in the outpatients department for children to enjoy whilst they wait for their appointment.
The original Evelina Children's Hospital was founded in Southwark in 1869 by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild following the death of his wife Evelina in childbirth. It was amalgamated with the children's hospital at Guy's Hospital in 1948 and the building closed its doors in 1973
when children's services were moved to the newly built Guy's Tower. Over succeeding years, the Evelina's services for children at Guy's and St Thomas' were spread to locations at both sites.