Hammersmith Bridge Road Surgery
1 Hammersmith Bridge Road
London W6 9DU
United Kingdom

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 La Roche). 


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 compromise.

The surgery was awarded an RIBA Award for Architecture in 2001. The judges said:

'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 left.

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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