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Wishaw Health Centre

Wishaw Health Centre
A major Community Health Centre accommodating seven GP practices clinical services and NHS Lanarkshire office accommodation together with Public Library, First Stop Shop & Housing Services for North Lanarkshire Council

The new centre is constructed adjacent to the original Wishaw Health Centre, whose site is now taken up by a dedicated car park. Thus, connections into the community which are so important for such a facility are preserved.

From the outset we sought to create an architecture that looks for simplicity and rationalism; a design that embodies constructive and diagrammatic logic and avoids unnecessary formal gestures and resources. The architectural idea is to create impressive, brightly lit, spaces within the building that the entire community of building users engage with. The building is divided into three main components: The architecture of the health centre is governed by the idea of achieving an enclosed form, with views out. The accommodation is grouped around an atrium and a courtyard, with waiting areas between the two at the centre of the plan. The library and FSS are located in a large open plan space with very large rooflights. The offices are wrapped around a light-well at first and second floor levels above the library.

The closed geometry of the health centre element and atrium emerge from the requirements of the brief. They provide efficiency and economy of movement and services. This economic footprint is particularly suited to the site. The building user has less far to move if the building is vertically orientated - the patient journey is always kept to a minimum. The vertical circulation ensures there is no need for users to travel through one department to get to another.

Within the schedules of accommodation each GP practice and NHS department has a space allocation reflecting its present size. In the longer term the size and number of practices/departments may change, and the closed nature of the plan makes it possible for the physical boundaries between territories to be amended with little or no impact on the building itself.

Most patients visiting health centres are heading for a clear destination, such as a specific GP practice or NHS clinical accommodation, and they will learn rapidly to find their way. Clear wayfinding is achieved by the excellent visibility up through the atrium and the orientation provided by the consistent placing of waiting areas and vertical circulation at the junction between atrium and courtyard.

Rooms with differing functions have been standardised to a size and proportion which makes them all suitable as potential consulting/examination rooms, enabling the precise use of each room to evolve over time. This basic room caters for around 23 separate briefed functions.

Externally, a strong statement was required from this skyline building adjacent to the rear of the cinema – one of the biggest buildings in the area. This is provided by the cuboid form, in a solid buff brick, with repeated generous square windows, lightened by the white grillage over the tall opening vents.
PROJECT: Wishaw Health Centre
LOCATION: Kenilworth Avenue
CLIENT: NHS Lanarkshire
ARCHITECT: Reiach & Hall
SERVICES ENGINEER: Hulley & Kirkwood
Wishaw Health Centre
Wishaw Health Centre
Wishaw Health Centre

Main Contractor:  Graham

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