Boiler Suit by Thomas Heatherwick



Thomas Heatherwick has completed Boiler Suit, an undulating facade of woven steel panels encasing the boiler house at Guy's Hospital in London.


The project is part of a wider improvement scheme at the hospital.


Photos are by Edmund Sumner.


Here is a press release from the hospital:


Leading designer transforms entrance to Guy’s Hospital

Internationally renowned designer, Thomas Heatherwick, has helped to transform the entrance to Guy’s Hospital as part of a major £2 million project to improve the area.

The exciting new scheme is his studio’s first commission for the National Health Service and brings together a huge number of improvements which will benefit patients, visitors and staff alike. These include widened pavements for better pedestrian access; a one-way traffic system, with designated drop off points; improved signage and lighting; and a new shop for the Friends of Guy’s Hospital.

At the centre of the scheme is the Boiler Suit, a unique façade designed to encase the boiler house which powers Guy’s Hospital. The Boiler Suit is made up of 108 undulating tiles of woven stainless steel braid and is illuminated at night to provide a distinctive welcoming beacon for staff and visitors arriving at hospital in the dark.

The project has been made possible thanks to funding from Pool of London Partnership, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and the Friends of Guy’s Hospital.

Other improvements made to the Guy’s Hospital approaches include:

  • A one-way traffic system including an entry barrier at the Snowsfields end of Great Maze Pond with an intercom for vehicle drivers to gain access to the hospital entrance;
  • Better drop-off and parking arrangements for disabled visitors and patient transport vehicles;
  • Seven new CCTV cameras which monitor the entrance and the surrounding area 24 hours a day;
  • A new cycle store right next to the main entrance.

Alastair Gourlay, Capital Development Manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have wanted to make improvements to the area around Guy’s for some time, and I am pleased that our patients and visitors are now greeted by a much more welcoming environment. The feedback we have received so far has been very positive, and we are now looking at ways of making further improvements to link into forthcoming developments at London Bridge."

Karen Sarkissian, Director of Art and Heritage at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, said: “It has been enormously rewarding and exciting to commission such a prestigious designer to work with us. Thomas has come up with an eye catching design which you would not expect to encounter on a hospital site."

Posted on Monday August 20th 2007 at 7:23 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • a very cool skin

  • Mattia Nuzzo

    Does it get any better than Heatherwick right now?

  • shem

    he’s been doing that for ages. saw it in 1999.

  • Gosh Thomas’ been busy hey…

  • Tony M

    It would have looked good in 1999

  • clive shaw

    The ‘Boiler Suit’ did not last the opening ceremony, and poor finishing has made the sleek wrap so prey to damage the whole lower section has been further wrapped in a garish, green nylon mesh cover. Passing the site each day, I can’t say I’m suprised, the site has been very slowly and very sparcely attended to. The information officer at the hospital Trust had no idea when the damaged sections would be fixed….

  • roadkill

    sorted now and it has a more fitting mesh on top of the lower section which should ensure does not get vandalised as easily… [green plastic mesh did not go well with the rest ;¬)

  • superdeluxe

    the mesh works well now.

    may i just add that the facade could do without it … if there wasn’t the problem of vandalism (the threads don’t loosen by themselves you know).

    it’s a shame that the general public doesn’t respect effort and beauty.

  • Anne H.

    Thomas Heatherwick is a wonderful designer. He should by now have factored in the temptation to vandalise which so affects British Urban Youth. So many of his outdoor projects…rolling bridge, blue carpet, B of the Bang have proved irresistible to scallies who couldn’t create a boiled egg without help.

  • This post seems to get a great deal of visitors. How do you get traffic to it? It offers a nice unique spin on things. I guess having something authentic or substantial to say is the most important thing.

  • Rob

    Unfortunately, yet again another example of Thomas Heatherwick trying his hand at something bigger than a public sculpture (all that he is formally trained in) and the object, this time a building, not lasting the test of time.

    Yes, public projects need to take into account all types of public, and no, Tom just seems to not understand this. His projects that are erected for a very short term last, anything longer we have seen the results… just don’t mention the B of the Bang please.