Zayed Centre – Great Ormond Street Hospital

Located in Central London, The Zayed Centre is named in honour of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of UAE as an exceptional gift from Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

The state-of-the-art, eight-storey scheme includes a 140-bench research laboratory for the mass manufacturing of new medicines and treatments. Located on the lower-ground floor, the open-plan laboratory creates a transparent pathway alongside the building, allowing the public to view the new outpatient clinic to see scientists and technicians working on their behalf.

This inspirational level of visual transparency, and enhanced expert-patient relationship, demonstrates the centre’s philosophy of mutual respect and appreciation and supports its ‘Bench-to-bedside’ way of working.

What we did

Pell Frischmann delivered Civil, Geotechnical and Structural services for the scheme’s three distinct, independent uses:

  • Day Care Centre, for rare diseases to be tested and treated;
  • Research Laboratory, used predominantly by Imperial College;
  • Good Manufacturing Process, where the new medicines themselves are created through research.

Contrasting to most new-build schemes, whereby concrete is concealed, the Zayed Centre exposes 75%. Pell Frischmann identified the correct mix of concrete and bonding oils to enable the design and build of the mesmerisingly elaborate and highly-recognisable façade. The aesthetics of the building’s exterior is as functional as it is enthralling. The design is part of the MEP strategy for thermal mass improvement; it cools in summer and insulates to retain heat in cooler winter months – contributing to the BREEAM Excellence of the scheme.

On top of pushing boundaries of design and engineering, Pell Frischmann devised a seven-storey building, with five levels above ground and two below. This massing has been informed by balancing the client’s requirement to maximise the development potential of the site, and to accommodate an ambitious brief, with the demand of a constrained urban site. Constraints which have had particular impact on the massing include daylighting issues with adjacent properties together with the identification of an acceptable overall height for the building within the context of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area.

This can be demonstrated by the incorporation of post-tensioned concrete in the upper floors. This resulted in the reduction of floor thickness to allow the optimisation of space without increasing the height of the building.

Zayed Centre, Great Ormond Street Hospital


There are more than 6,000 rare diseases in the world and many appear early in life, affecting babies and children. The work of the centre seeks to identify new ways of treating these young patients and, crucially, cure diseases that are currently incurable.

The scale of impact on peoples’ lives is unequivocal. The goal isn’t just to treat children who are diagnosed, it’s to solve the disease forever; it’s a vision statement that Pell Frischmann is humbled to be part of.

A video of the project, including interviews with architect Stanton Williams and client Great Ormond Street Hospital can be seen on NLA’s website here.

Project Director Mike Hitchens:

The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children is a building that will support and encourage advancing treatments with rare and complicated diseases. The Pell Frischmann Team is incredibly satisfied to be associated with such an important and unique project.


Civic Trust Award

Andy Murray, Project Director:

Pell Frischmann is delighted to see this project awarded such a prestigious prize. The Civic Trust Awards is a long-standing scheme that distinguishes outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment, and we’re delighted that the Zayed Centre has been awarded this recognition.

NLA Caring Prize

Judges comments:

They made a big effort in terms of climate and sustainability; that is not very easy with this sort of equipment. It’s not easy to have that sort of quality.

European Healthcare Design Awards, four categories

Interior Design and Art, Winners
Health and Life Science Research, Winners
Health and Design under 25,000sqm, Highly Commended
Design for Health and Wellness, Highly Commended

Jonathan Childs, Sector Director:

We are privileged to have worked together with our partners Skanska and Stanton Williams to create this world-class research and hospital.


We’d love to hear from you!

To find out more about Zayed Centre, please contact us through our form here.

  • icon-arrow 13,000 sqm;
  • icon-arrow Concrete elegance.
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