Situated in the London Borough of Wandsworth, St Johnâ's Therapy Centre provides visual legibility to busy urban environments and aspirational focus to communities. The building had a diverse brief; as well as two GP practices, it houses a number of community-based therapy services and a mental health unit. It is laid out over four storeys and, while having a real presence on the street, is predominantly focused on two internal courtyards. Together with a roof terrace, these bring daylight into cloistered spaces which are designed for intuitive wayfinding.
Henley Halebrown Rorrison (formally Buschow Henley) have thought carefully about the flexibility of St John's, introducing standardised rooms that can be reconfigured with partitions. Clinical accommodation has been 'clustered' and each floor organised into 'front' and 'back-of-house' areas. The proportions of the building are designed to give it the status of a grand civic edifice but the space lends itself to the intimacy of a therapeutic environment.
St John's was one of the first NHS buildings to secure an 'excellent' NEAT rating. The building derives its richly textured external form from an innovative response to buffering noise and fumes from the urban environment. Although no renewable energy strategies have been used, it is laid out to maximise natural light and ventilation, especially in shared spaces. It is perhaps unsurprising that the overwhelmingly positive response to the building by staff, patients and the community focuses on their success in claiming a little pocket of nature for built-up city sites.
Consultation was not limited to the client body but involved detailed liaison with the community through exhibitions and public meetings. Staff and patient user groups met regularly from appointment to completion, with a workshop format used to test all aspects of the design from the conceptual to the detailed. This has generated a high degree of 'ownership' of both the building itself and, ultimately, the wider strategy of service co-location.
2007 AIA/UK Excellence in Design Award Commendation.
2008 Civic Trust Award Commendation