Sir Peter Blake, who worked on the cover for The Beatles album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, is designing an artwork for the project at St Bernard’s Hospital.
The state-of-the-art energy centre will be built alongside the River Brent. It will power the site and also act as a local attraction, an educational resource for schoolchildren and a magnet for wildlife.
Mr Blake will create specially commissioned artwork for the project, which will involve pictures and text incorporated into glass panels on the 16-acre site. The centre will house a gas turbine that will generate the electricity and heating for the whole of the site.
Mr Blake said it was the first energy centre he has been asked to work on: "People can think of energy centres as being ugly, industrial buildings, but this one will be made beautiful.
“Our concept is to illustrate all the wildlife on the front of the energy centre in a series of three-foot glass panels. My illustrations will be based on wood engravings sourced from a lovely Victorian book called Wood’s Illustrated Natural History.”
Part of the West London Mental Health Trust, and next door to Ealing Hospital, St Bernard’s is an independent trust which cares for 17,000 patients a year and employs 1,900 staff.
Eric Munro, director of capital, estates and facilities for the trust, said: “We are keen to get the involvement of local schools so it’s our intention to arrange class outings so children can look round the energy centre. We want to be able to bring people in and show them the energy being made.”
David Morley Architects are in charge of redeveloping the existing site and will work alongside architecture firm Feilden and Mawson.
The masterplan also involves building a new 80-bed medium secure mental health unit on the site of the present John Conolly wing.
The scheme will convert existing 180-year-old listed buildings – such as the Gatehouse and North House – to provide 263 modern apartments and 300 new homes.
Proceeds from the sale of surplus land and buildings, including the hospital’s Uxbridge Road site, will be used to help pay for new clinical facilities.
The energy centre has already received planning approval by Ealing planning committee.
By James Gates