Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice

  • area / size 24,057 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • Location Barnet, England,
  • Squire & Partners realized the highly sustainable facility for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, specifically designed to support children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families in Barnet, England.

    Situated within a 7.5-acre nature reserve in Barnet, North London, The Ark is the first new hospice building in London for ten years, and will allow the charity to increase the scale and quality of their work with children and families.

    The building was designed and delivered by Squire & Partners, with landscape by Gensler, as part of a team of high profile built environment professionals working collaboratively to support the Build The Ark appeal.

    The design was conceived as a welcoming space which acts as a peaceful sanctuary for children, as well as a place of joy and discovery where families are able to enjoy time together with support and encouragement from the Noah’s Ark team.

    Set on the natural incline of its nature reserve setting, The Ark is discreetly carved into the hillside providing a single storey at the entrance, adding a lower level to the rear as the site slopes away.

    The building is designed to have a strong connection with its natural setting – seen as an important contributor to wellbeing and the healing process. Conceived from a broadly square shaped building with landscaped gardens eroding each of the four sides, the concept evolved to sculpt a butterfly shaped plan – the symbol of the children’s hospice movement, depicting a brief but beautiful life.

    A palette based around natural materials features textured brick and an exposed timber structure. The double height oak framed entrance hall, fully glazed at each end, creates a light and striking open volume as an uplifting space for families to come together and socialise. Colour is added with furniture, while downlighters and pendant lights create warm tones.

    Four brick-clad wings run off the central hall, with a section each for therapies (including areas for soft play, sensory play, a music therapy room, an art room and a cinema room), children’s bedrooms, families rooms and administration. At lower ground level more private functions include bereavement suites, a multi-faith room and staff facilities.

    Each room within the facility has a link with the landscape via large windows/doors and openable timber panels, creating a domestic rather than medicalised environment. Bedrooms for children and families have poster boards and desk spaces to quickly and easily personalise spaces, and are designed to cater for the cultural diversity of families in the area – including adjoining rooms to allow for separation of genders, and PIR lighting for Jewish families during Sabbath.

    The Ark is designed so that children’s beds and mobility equipment can be moved throughout the building as well as onto large south facing external decks, encouraging them to engage in a variety of activities during their time at the centre.

    Architect: Squire & Partners
    Landscape Architect: Gensler
    Contractor: 8Build
    Photography: Gareth Gardner