Launched in June 2008 with an investment of €18 million, The Charles Institute is the first academic institute devoted to dermatology in Ireland. The Institute’s vision is to become a world leader in dermatology research and training, which will lead to improved patient care through the discovery of new treatments and therapies.
Continuing the Hume Street legacy in dermatology
The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity in partnership with University College Dublin founded the Charles Institute on the campus of University College Dublin.
The Institute is named in honour of Andrew Charles FRCSI, the founder of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital (known as Hume Street Hospital) and his son Havelock Charles who worked as a consultant dermatologist in the hospital throughout his life.
Honouring the vision and commitment of the founding fathers and all of the dedicated staff who worked in the hospital from its foundation in 1911 to its closure in 2006, the Board of Directors of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity has become the major donor to the Charles Institute, contributing a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Hume Street Hospital site towards the establishment of the Institute.
Aims & Objectives
The objectives of the Charles Institute will be:
i To build on the legacy of The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital by creating a centre of excellence of international repute.
ii To initiate and conduct research programs for the advancement of the understanding and treatment of dermatological disease in close association with the Conway Institute and Health Sciences Centre.
iii To provide the facilities necessary for the future training of all healthcare professionals dedicated to curing skin disease.
iv To structure a National programme that supports Irelands community of dermatologists through continued medical education and patient advocacy.
v To develop the translational model of bench-to-bedside research through close collaboration between the existing dermatological services in St. Vincent’s University Hospital and the Charles Institute.
vi To ensure ultimately that these objectives will result in the betterment of dermatological treatment for the many thousands of patients in Ireland who suffer from skin disease and its many manifestations.
In reaching the decision to support this ambitious partnership with UCD, which has the ultimate goal of seeing the Charles Institute established as a world class centre of excellence, the Board of The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital is confident that in so doing it is honouring the vision and the commitment of the founding fathers and all of the dedicated staff who worked in the Hospital from its foundation in 1911 to its closure in 2006.
Design & Facilities
The elegant Charles Institute was designed by RKD Architects led by Denis Brereton. Linking the Health Sciences Building with the Conway Institute, the Charles Institute fronted by glass offset with black stone makes a vibrant statement on the campus of University College Dublin. Entering the building, the visitor is greeted by bright and attractive spaces, which enjoy beautiful natural light and pristine finishes. Movement through the building is encouraged by the provision of special points of interest, including a historical display of memorabilia and illustrative material from the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital, the display of nineteenth century watercolors from the Wallace collection in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and the Kevin Barry stained glass window (crafted in the Harry Clarke Studios in the early 1930s). The laboratories have been designed jointly by RKD Architects and the Boston-based Wilson Laboratory Planners to highest international standards.
The building provides a selection of animated interaction areas interspersed with write-up rooms, seminar and comfortable seating areas closely allied to the research laboratories so as to promote discourse, collaboration and social engagement in an ambience that is both attractive and functional. The strategic positioning of the Charles Institute, while providing dedicated training and research facilities for dermatology, also permits utilisation of the resources available in the adjacent research flagship, the Conway Institute with full access to the library, lecture theatres and associated teaching facilities available in the Health Sciences Centre. The use of solar panels, high performance façades, heat recovery systems, rain water harvesting, maximum use of day-lighting, natural ventilation and environmentally sensitive materials is in accord with the eco-friendly policy of the University.
The glazed prow of the Charles Institute and the inviting space traversing three floors that was created within the building seemed to me to be crying for fulfilment. I knew none better for this challenging task than Brian O’Doherty; and the Board of the Charity responded to my request to commission what has now become the unique creation entitled “The Arrow of Curiosity, the Curve of Conciliation, and the Line of Inquiry”.
The Board of the Charles Institute. From left front: Eoin O’Brien, Bill Powderly, Frank Powell, Peter O’Flanagan. From left back: John Lynch, Desmond Fitzgerald, Risteard O’Laoide and Michael Griffith.