With five storeys below ground and a depth of 28.5 metres, it is big enough to contain the Royal Albert Hall. This basement will be home to one of two world-class NHS high energy proton beam therapy centres.

Proton beam therapy is a form of radiotherapy used to treat cancer which can be targeted extremely precisely, causing minimal damage to surrounding tissue.

Together with the Department of Health, NHS England is funding the development of two world class centres at The Christie in Manchester and UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) for NHS patients to be treated in the UK. Patients are due to be treated at The Christie from summer next year, with UCLH following in summer 2020. When complete they will each treat up to 750 patients every year.

Fabienne Viala, Chairman of Bouygues UK, said “This is exactly the kind of project we relish. The complexity of undertaking London’s biggest excavation within a tight site at the heart of central London enables us to add value through our technical knowledge and the infrastructure expertise of our colleagues within Bouygues Travaux Publics. This is no ordinary project: as well as being an innovative and complex build, the finished development will have the potential to improve and even save the lives of those suffering with blood disorders and complex cancers.”

The low down

  • The deepest point is 28.5 metres below ground and the basement measures 87 metres long by 67 metres wide.
  • 80,000 cubic metres of ground has been removed from the site. This is the equivalent of around 640 London buses.
  • With five storeys below ground and six above, the height of the building (including below ground) is 57 metres, making it equivalent to London’s Tower Bridge.

Below ground there will be:

  • A multi-storey gantries for the proton beam therapy equipment.
  • Two Mechanical and Electrical plant levels
  • Two floors for patient proton beam therapy care,
  • Eight surgical theatres.

Above ground there will be 6 floors which include Europe’s largest centre for the treatment of blood disorders.

300 people have been involved the excavation so far, with 3000 expected to participate in the construction works overall. Interestingly, more than 12% of the staff working on the site live in Camden.