Medical Centre Arbroath, Images, Scotland, Design, GP Practice, Picture, Service
Arbroath Medical Centre, Angus
Springfield Medical Centre, Scotland – design by Campbell & Arnott Architects, Edinburgh
15 Nov 2004
Springfield Medical Centre
Springfield Medical Centre Building
Design: Campbell & Arnott
Springfield Medical Centre is situated on Ponderlaw Street near the centre of Arbroath, on a former gasworks site. It houses 2 GP practices and the local Community Dental Service and has a gross floor area of 2400m2.
The building, which is a combination of 1 and 2 storey accommodation, is a welcome addition to the area and provides a much improved medical and dental facility for the local community.
The brief for the medical centre originally required accommodation for 3 GP practices, who had outgrown their shared premises, but during the design process one of the practices dropped out and was replaced by the Community Dental Service.
Understandably, the brief for the medical centre (which came from the Primary Care Trust) was very prescriptive. Strict guidelines exist for most components of a medical centre brief and allowable areas in particular were very limited.
Our design approach was to try to make the building as light, airy and spacious as possible. It was to take a linear form and address the street and the site rather than being a large single mass in a sea of car parking. Care was taken to preserve the existing trees and stone walls on the site.
The building was designed primarily with its users in mind, to create a building that would be a pleasure to use, with pedestrian access also taking precedence externally.
The building is broken up visually with a series of volumes topped with monopitch roofs. The double height entrance is flanked by a feature wall of local sandstone, which aims to draw people into the building.
The building is designed around the dramatic double height entrance space, which contains the receptions, waiting areas and toilets which are all highlighted in bold colours against an otherwise monochrome backdrop.
All the patient accommodation is at ground floor level, the first floor containing offices and staff accommodation. A bridge connecting the separate first floor wings and the timber clad lift shaft divide the central space and create a feature as well as creating visual separation between the 2 of the waiting areas and circulation space.
The building throughout is extremely light. This is due, in the central area to double height glazing, continuous clerestory glazing and a series of rooflights, and in the corridors to their very generous width and a proliferation of rooflights. The double height glazing at the waiting areas also affords calming, peaceful views out, something that is not often evident in a medical centre. In 2 of the waiting areas, which are divided by a yellow feature wall, these are to the Japanese courtyard garden. The third waiting area looks out on an area of soft landscaping and is further enhanced internally by a series of small square windows punched in the adjacent 6m high wall.
image from Campbell & Arnott Architects
The budgetary constraints were tight as the building was being built for the Primary Care Trust through a developer. The approach taken was to try to maximise spending (within the budget) where it would be the most beneficial. The detailing of the roof and the stone wall adjacent to the entrance were felt to be of great importance externally, and so benefited from higher proportion of the budget than they might normally be allowed, as did the central space internally.
The overall cost of the Springfield Medical Centre building was £2m.
Accessibility for people with disabilities
The nature of this building demanded that it was fully (and easily) accessible to people with disabilities throughout. All external doors have level access, the entrance doors being fully automatic, and all corridors are a very generous 1.8m wide, with wall mounted handrails on the ground floor. Doors have been eliminated throughout the circulation areas, or use hold open devices wherever possible and the building has been designed to be very easily navigable.
The use of bold colours in the central area, signifying the reception and toilet pods make the building easily navigable for the visually impaired, as does the use of very bold signage and the maximisation of natural daylight.
The spaciousness of the building generally makes it easily usable for wheelchair bound people and the reception desks feature a lowered area for their use, as well as induction loops for the hard of hearing.
SPRINGFIELD MEDICAL CENTRE, ARBROATH
From the outset, the building was designed with sustainability in mind. This can be demonstrated in the following:
The building occupies a former brownfield gasworks site which was cleared and decontaminated before the construction of the new building could begin.
Stone from the existing buildings on the site was kept and reused to build a curved wall to the site frontage, tying it in with the street.
The layout was designed around the trees, walls and levels existing on the site; the existing trees were retained and new ones planted, existing walls were retained and repaired.
The whole building (other than the central atrium) is of a timber frame construction. Externally, the building is very low maintenance and is clad in natural stone, untreated Douglas fir cladding and wet dash render.
The building layout was designed to maximise natural daylight and ventilation, as well as responding to the physical constraints and properties of the site. A shallow plan was utilised to aid cross ventilation and maximise natural daylight, as well as aiding visual orientation. The large volumes used also aim to aid ventilation and avoid overheating, to provide a spacious and airy environment.
Local measures utilised include the use of condensing boilers, low energy lamp sources, a weather compensated heating system and destratification fans in the central area as well as local extract operated by presence detectors.
The estimated CO2 emission for the building is 65kg/m2.
The car park areas are also surfaced with permeable concrete block units which reduce pressure on the local storm water sewer.
Socially, this building is of great benefit to the community. It is located on a former brownfield site within easy walking distance of the town centre. A new bus stop has been provided with a new individually designed bus shelter being built into the front boundary wall. A secondary pedestrian entrance has been provided to the rear of the site, making pedestrian access even more convenient to much of the local community.
During the construction of the building, most of the subcontractors and suppliers were from the surrounding area, which provided a social benefit in itself.
The contract between the developers and the Trust means that the building will be leased to the Trust for a minimum of 25 years. The building has been designed with room for expansion, and there is currently some unlet space within the building. The timber frame construction of the building lends itself well to alterations, should they require to be made at any time in the future.
Dundee Architecture Designs – chronological list
Arbroath Primary Care Centre by Campbell & Arnott
Campbell and Arnott Architects are based in Edinburgh
University of Dundee – New Teaching Block
Campbell & Arnott Architects
University of Dundee building
Monifieth Medical Centre by Campbell & Arnott
Queen Mother Building, Dundee University Campus
photo © Keith Hunter
Dundee University building
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