Kentish Town Health Centre

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Located on a tight urban site, the new Kentish Town Health Centre sits behind a selection of mature trees embracing a composition of forms and materials that respect both the scale and the materiality of the surrounding residential setting. Although its primarily function is for health and medicine, the building was also designed as a civic venue; as a gallery for displaying local artists’ work, a space where local groups meet, and a base for neighbourhood initiatives.

Within walking distance for most users, the centre’s connection to the community is evident in its layout, with public entrances on both the north and south elevations. The scale of the building is mitigated by layered block forms, which have been combined in a simple structure and clad in contemporary materials, including dark grey brick, smooth white render and bright green ventilation grilles, to create a unique identity. This ensures the centre is at once comfortable with the appearance and materiality of the surrounding buildings, but is also easily recognisable as a new and vibrant addition to the town.

The ethos of the centre was established at the briefing stage, that being to create a building that expressed a new, holistic approach to healthcare, and to create an inspiring and uplifting environment for staff and users alike. In response, the roof-lit internal street connecting the buildings entrances, which is activated by art works and large-scale graphics, allows views and transparency to the external environment and creates a welcoming entrance sequence.

The “street” leads to a central reception hub serving all publicly accessible areas on the ground and first floors, which comprise a large GP Practice alongside a range of complimentary diagnostic, screening, dental and children’s health facilities as well as many other associated services. It also opens out to a secluded garden area, allowing visual and physical connections to be made between the articulated central space and the external environment. The relationships between these spaces, the visual linkage between all floors, and the coded graphics (in black and bright green) consolidate the centre’s identity whilst providing clear and intuitive way finding, through discrete routes that are woven unobtrusively into the building as required.

The majority of the functional spaces within the centre have been designed so that they are not regarded as the territory of one service or discipline. On the ground and first floors all consultation and treatment rooms are available for each practice or service to book via the centralised administration system. IT systems allow the doctors to access patient records and forms from the desk minimising the clutter in rooms and the need for such materials to be stored and transferred, increasing efficiency. Each room has a relaxed colour scheme, three variable light settings and carefully considered furniture and sanitary ware that supports interaction and the ethos of the facility. An interchangeable storage system allows rooms to be transformed to suit a variety of functions, for example from a clinical to counselling, with comparative ease.

On the second floor, which is accessible to staff only, there are communal teaching spaces, an open plan office and various meeting rooms that allow staff to exchange knowledge and expertise. The visual linkage provided in the lower sections of the building extends to this floor as well. Staff also have access to external terraces at this level that are deliberately discrete and domestic in scale, creating the potential for a moment away along with a sense of privacy and a connection to nature in what is, nonetheless, an urban location.

As part of the building’s sustainability strategy, the Design Team devised a unique solution that has considerably reduced the amount of mechanical ventilation required and realised a significant cost saving. Brightly coloured grilles have been incorporated into the design of the window frame so that a section of each window can remain securely open when the centre is unoccupied, thereby providing passive cooling. In conjunction with the windows, rooflights have been utilised to naturally light as much of the building as possible, which subsequently reduces its energy consumption.

Above all, the new Kentish Town Health Centre replaces its predecessor with a new standard of healthcare building. The abiding impression for the patients and staff is that of a light and airy building, well connected into the fabric of the neighbourhood, which evidently provides the community with a valuable resource in terms of a health facility and a civic venue in a considered addition to the local built environment. Despite the extent of accommodation achieved on the site, such a flexible building not only benefits the efficient delivery of services currently provided at the centre, but also enables simple adaptations to suit future uses.

For further details of the project download the full case study via the link in the resources section to the right.


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

Text adapted from information published by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

For further details of the project download the full case study via the link in the resources section to the right.



About this development

Project Kentish Town Health Centre
Location London
Client Body Camden Primary Care Trust NHS
Delivery Team Camden Islington Community Solutions, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Morgan Ashurst
Value £10.1 Million
Procurement Type Design Build Finance Maintain (DBFM)
Development Types Children’s and young people’s services, Integrated services, Primary care, Outpatient care
SCIM Design Statement Kentish Town Health Centre (PDF)
Project Summary Kentish Town Health Centre (PDF)
Images Download all images (ZIP)


Healthier Places

Supporting the creation of truly healing places and healthier communities across Scotland.


Supporting NHSScotland Health Boards and their partners in the creation of successful healthcare facilities by sharing best practice.

Kentish Town Health Centre

Located on a tight urban site, the new Kentish Town Health Centre sits behind a selection of mature trees.

SCIM Design Statements

Description of SCIM Design Statements for NHS Scotland with links to project pages.

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