reflects the maritime origins of tropical medicine, and the School’s
early history, which was inextricably linked with seafaring. Many
of the papers and correspondence which passed between the architect
and the client at the time the original building was constructed
are still available. There are numerous references to maritime
architecture within these and plenty of nautical touches to be
found in the original building design. I have tried to reflect
this theme in the wave wall, using oak veneer for both the wall
and the ceiling.
By using oak, I am also seeking to convey the idea of development
and change. The structure of an oak tree alters over the centuries,
to compensate for changes in the environment, just as the research
environment and our level of understanding about disease has grown
and shifted since the School was originally constructed.
I have always been interested in the use of oak as a building material
through the ages. In days past, British shipbuilders had an understanding
of the scarcity of natural resources and the need to protect the
environment which might surprise us today. Rather than harvesting
entire oak forests, they would select a bough as close as possible
to the shape and size of the beam they required, in order to keep
wastage to a minimum.
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