The Royal Hospital Chelsea was founded in 1692 as a retirement home for former soldiers, more commonly known as ‘Chelsea Pensioners’. A residential home rather than a hospital, Wren’s long wards provide sheltered accommodation for those who are able to look after themselves.
For those who are more frail and infirm, the Infirmary provides care home accommodation. This was built in the 1950’s to replace Sir John Soane's original structure which had been destroyed in the war. While this still provides for a full range of nursing care, it does not meet the requirements of the Care Standards Act 2000.
Tuke Manton entered an open competition for the design of a new and larger care home to meet the future needs and expectations of the residents.
Although we were short-listed on our own merits as one of seven finalists (which included Foster and Partners, Michael Hopkins and Partners, and Swanke Hayden Connell), given the national and historic importance of this site, we opted to seek a collaborative arrangement with MacCormac Jamieson Prichard.
The principle demand of the site was that the new building and landscape treatment should enhance the setting of the existing Royal Hospital buildings. Set alongside the work of Wren, Soane and Adam, it should present a statement of architectural quality in its own right.
These architectural ambitions were to be matched by a functional environment that would meet fully the requirements of the National Minimum Standards for Care Homes for Older People.