Hammersmith Bridge Road
1 Hammersmith Bridge Road
London W6 9DU
Guy Greenfield Architects 2000
Guy Greenfield's white sculptural
doctor's surgery is a creative response to a difficult site - a disused
car park on a noisy junction almost under a concrete flyover.
The building shuts itself away
from the noise and harshness of the neighboring environment with a
powerful smooth white wall, curved in two dimensions and extending beyond
the building in both length and height. Steps in this wall create tall,
thin windows that light the corridor down to the consulting rooms, with
directional views that block the views and noise of the flyover. The plan,
with this single, inviting corridor leading from the waiting room/foyer,
almost eliminates the need for any signage.
On the other side of the
building, a glazed, concave curtain wall focuses the building on a quiet,
secluded courtyard - an attractive contrast to the traffic outside.
The waiting room, and all the
consulting rooms, look out onto the inner courtyard.
Upstairs, roof glazing combines
with the narrow windows in the 'steps' of the outer wall to create a
brilliantly lit corridor. The minimal but careful detailing, black (slate)
floors, bright white walls with turquoise and orange planes, are all
reminiscent of early Le Corbusier (particularly his Villa
The success of this upper
corridor was achieved with careful attention to fire barriers. The need
for automatic fire doors at intervals across the corridor threatened the
openness of the corridor; but by using custom-shaped fire doors (with a
curved profile to fit the outer wall when closed, normally kept recessed
into the inner wall while open), with simple glass panes above where the
doors close, fire regulations were met with the minimum of design
The surgery was awarded an RIBA
Award for Architecture in 2001. The
'The Hammersmith surgery ... had
a standard NHS [National Health Service] budget, a standard NHS brief and
is situated in a context - virtually under the Hammersmith Flyover - that
borders on the aggressive. The triumph of the architects and their
exceptionally supportive clients, is to have produced a building that
transcends all these limitations.
'The response to problems of
the context (one London's busiest roundabouts) is spot on: don't fight
it or hide from it - but charm it with a sculptural form. The curved
white sails work best at night but are not just a successful aesthetic
device for the outside. Inside they usher light into the corridors
serving the medical rooms - corridors which are so often the most
disheartening moments in such buildings are here genuinely life
affirming as they shape the light and allow limited glimpses out. The
medical rooms themselves have an unexpected calmness, sheltered as they
are from the traffic and overlooking a private courtyard.
'The building is
extraordinary, in the real sense of the word; it creates something extra
over and above the ordinary, from an unpromising set of circumstances.
The Hammersmith surgery is a shining example of the way that good
architecture can and should operate at all levels of society...'
Simon Glynn 2003
How to visit
The surgery is on the south-east
side of Hammersmith Bridge Road, on the corner with Worlidge Street.
By tube, the surgery is just a
few minutes' walk from Hammersmith station. The tube station is in the
middle of Hammersmith roundabout. Exit on the west side (Queen Caroline
Street), cross over the street and follow Hammersmith Road towards the
south west. The surgery is almost immediately on your left.
By car, leave the Hammersmith
roundabout in the south-west corner, taking a small road which confusingly
is also called Queen Caroline Street, underneath the flyover. Metered
parking is signposted immediately on the right, in Sussex Place. Walk
along Sussex Place beyond the parking, and the surgery will be on your
The building is a working
doctors' surgery. To visit the interior, look out for opportunities in
London's annual late-September 'open house' weekend (www.londonopenhouse.org).
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