Kentish Town Health Centre

London. 2008

  • Project Details
  • Completion: 2008
  • Cost: £10.1 Million
  • Clients: Camden Primary Care Trust and James Wigg Practice

As a complex interplay of adaptable, interlocking internal and external spaces, Kentish Town Health Centre takes inspiration from the game Jenga. A single-storey dark brick plinth holds two-storeys of crisp-white rendered overlapping volumes. A wide, internalised street runs the full length of the building, widening at its mid-point to create a triple-height, triple-aspect public room that focuses out onto a garden. Glazed circulation cores, bridges, voids and terraces intersect with the axial route of the internal street to stitch all levels together. Housing a large GP practice, a wide range of community health services, office space, staff facilities, a library and meeting rooms, the building (and the process in which it was championed, procured, designed and delivered) has set new standards for the NHS. The project, initially won in a RIBA competition, was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2009.


British Construction Industry Award: Public Building £3-£50m 2010 Building Magazine: Public Building Project of the Year 2010 Civic Trust Award 2010 Brick Awards: Best Use of Brick and Clay Products 2009 Building Better Healthcare Award for Best Primary Care Design 2009 Building Better Healthcare Award for Design Champion of the Year 2009 LIFT Award for Best Design for a Healthcare Project 2009 RIBA Award for Architecture 2009 RIBA Client of the Year 2009 RIBA Stirling Prize: Shortlist 2009

Kentish Town Health Centre (KTHC) is a new health building in central London, housing a large GP practice and a wide range of health facilities. KTHC sets a new standard for the NHS. The partnership of a local design champion, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) architects, and Camden & Islington Community Solutions have delivered a building where design delivers the integration of services as never before.

The project champion, Dr Roy Macgregor, initiated an RIBA competition for a building won by AHMM. Dr Macgregor’s vision was to create a wonderful building where not only medicine but health and art came together for the community. Ideas of transparency and connectivity were embraced by the architects and the whole team worked collaboratively to create a building that expresses the new, holistic approach to healthcare.

KTHC creates a bold civic presence that responds to its environment. Referencing the brick and stucco, and architectural repetition, scale and forms of the surrounding housing, the ground floor is articulated as a brick plinth, with the rendered forms of the upper floors floating above. Cantilevered rooms at first and second floor provide substantially larger floorplates at these levels whilst allowing a small ground floor footprint and reducing the overall mass of the building.

The building houses a large GP practice, paediatric, dental services, children’s services, breast screening and diagnostic imaging, plus supporting office space, staff facilities, library and meeting rooms. Inspired by the game Jenga, the very complex inter-relationships of these uses were rigorously adjusted to create a very flexible internal space where staff and users feel connected and part of a whole.

Fully accessible ground and first floors accommodate all public and clinical space, whilst the second floor is a private space for use by staff with teaching rooms. Some areas and rooms on the ground floor have been designed to be used out of clinic hours so have their own, discrete routes of access and security.

Internally, the building has been designed around the concept of a street – a generous public/private space that welcomes users and leads them to the reception at the heart of the building from where all services are accessed. This double or triple-height space running through the building is enlivened by bridges, views, colourful graphics and a bold signage system by Studio Myerscough that creates a stimulating internal streetscape whilst providing ease of use for the diverse needs of the many users. Arts Council funding has been secured to deliver a programme of art throughout the building.

With the landscaping, as many existing trees as possible were retained including London Planes, Ash, Lime and a Damson. New landscape elements relate to the residential scale of gardens and pockets of green in surrounding streets. A series of small, private gardens and terraces were carved into the built form with a more formal, public garden connecting to the main waiting room at ground floor where a café will also be located.

Kentish Town Health Centre provides an uplifting, inspiring environment of high quality for users and staff delivered through the LIFT procurement process, setting a new standard for modern health care provision.

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