Royal London Children’s Hospital

Artworks for exterior roof garden and internal play space
Vital Arts & Royal London Children’s Hospital, Whitechapel, London
RIBA competition finalist


Silver Tree Columns for the roof garden
Together with Walters and Cohen Architects, Juri was shortlisted for the RIBA competition for the new Royal London Children’s Hospital Internal Play Space and Exterior Roof Garden which is Britain’s biggest new hospital, providing general and specialist services to the population of east London and beyond.

Juri’s proposal for the external roof garden was a set of silver tree columns that were arranged to create a rhythm and natural articulation in a static space. The existing space is sandwiched by two very tall buildings with glass balustrades all around the perimeter. The trees provide a balance and scale that is relative to our bodies.  Overhead is a crochet-like net, the trees grow seamlessly from the grass into the sky through circular windows in the translucent fabric.  They lift the eye and the imagination out of the mundane and into the blue.  Children can play hide and seek between the columns, have a quiet read at the bottom of the tree, or a colourful triangular flags can be tied around to create a social space in the forest where children can sit on logs and listen to stories.  The tree textures are echoed on the print on the glass balustrade to create a sense of depth in the forest.  The idea was to provide a view to the outside that children eye’s can reach, an alternative solution to the opaque existing glass balustrade. The silver trees will be cast from real trees and these original real trees are fumigated to make a forest in the internal play space. The silver trees are cast pieces that require low maintenance and are suitable for the weather.


Completion    January 2011
Client             Vital Arts / Barts and the London NHS Trust
Architect        Walters and Cohen
Landscape & planting        The Landscape Partnership
Structure        Expedition Engineering
QS               Fanshawe