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The Helix Design Studio by Ralf Alwani, Joanna Hyland and Matthew Volsen

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HELIX Design Studio

The Helix Design Studio by Ralf Alwani, Joanna Hyland and Matthew Volsen

St Mary's Hospital, London

January 2015

millimetre worked closely with RCA architects to design, build and install the Helix Studio – a hub in the grounds of St Mary’s Hospital where designers, NHS staff and patients collaborate on design-led health innovations. Three RCA Architecture students designed the building, which they describe as a ‘bookcase and table’, carefully crafted from simple materials. millimetre worked with architect Adrian Friend, head of the School, to rationalise the structure, detail the connections and design the construction method.

The core comprises a supporting frame of 40mm Kerto beams, which also form the internal ‘bookcase’. The frame is fixed into a timber stress skin raft with steel connections. It was fabricated in two halves in the millimetre workshop, to reduce assembly time on site. Over the challenging five-day installation, the main frame was clad in two layers of glass, held in place by engineered, slotted solid oak glazing bars.

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Photography: © Marco Godoy