Aylesbury Health Centre
The site, Plot 18, is located within the second phase of the Aylesbury Masterplan, as part of the wider Aylesbury Regeneration Area within the London Borough of Southwark. Outlined as the ‘neighbourhood centre’ for the new development area, the plot aims to establish an identity as a local destination and landmark.
The South Block within Plot 18, designed by Duggan Morris Architects, accommodates a Health Centre and Early Years facility. It is a standalone, 4-storey building, giving presence to the square.
The Health Centre is split between two stakeholders; Guy’s St Thomas Trust Community Health and The Aylesbury Partnership GP Practice. The complex programme is horizontally layered with the Health Centre occupying the ground, first and second floor and the Early Years facility benefiting from a location on the top floor level allowing for the provision of a large external terrace. Careful consideration has been given to the placement of the sensitive clinical space and the public components of the Health Centre. While the clinical spaces are facing the domestic environment of Dawes Street the public components of the programme are used to activate the ground floor and create a dialogue with the public open space.
The brief’s ambition is the uses will not be isolated but will form relationships with shared areas and facilities; visual connections and reciprocal exchanges; and engagement with the wider context. The objective is to provide an original, timeless building which is suitable for both the Health Centre and Early Years nursery facilities, as well as for its wider civic role within the master plan context.
Extensive model studies were carried out investigating volumetric compositions in correspondence with the shifting scale of the context and the evolving considerations on the relationship of the adjoined programmes. The blocks are stepped in plan, creating deep recesses positioned at the corners, forming distinctive forecourts whilst in turn breaking up the appearance of the mass. These recesses are transition spaces offering the opportunity to relate to the internal programme of the Health Centre whilst contributing to the public realm.
Volumetric design studies resulted in a series of stepped volumes composed around a central pivot point. Each volume responds to its immediate context in scale. Where the lowest volume responds to the domestic character of the conservation area, the highest volume creates a civic presence facing the public open space. The two other volumes mirror the scale of the adjacent buildings.