Abbey Area Community Hub
Community-led, sustainable civic hub prioritising health and wellbeing throughout
An accessible, welcoming focal point for local people, Abbey Area Community Health Hub for Camden Council combines community and health services into one cohesive building within a new park setting. Forming part of the wider Abbey Road regeneration project, it is a place for the local residents to socialise and supports the health and wellbeing of the local community by co-locating Abbey Community Centre (ACC) and Belsize Priority Health Centre (BPHC).
Local Authority led ambition
Camden Council’s overriding ambition is to address health, education and housing inequality across the borough. At a time of reducing public resources this is only achievable by doing things differently, delivering better outcomes for their residents.
Abbey Area responds to this by creating a healthy and friendly environment with strong connections to nature throughout.
We co-designed the project with key stakeholders through an all-encompassing engagement programme, ensuring both ACC and BPHC can operate as independent entities within a shared building.
Acting as a civic hub that supports current and future services, the intuitive building sits within renewed community driven parks and gardens.
DESIGN CONCEPT AND INNOVATION
Flexible and adaptable people-focused design
Through design development, we saw how the community could be brought closer together by integrating the two separate services to operate in tandem as one overarching health and wellbeing service but also with a future focus to allow both spaces to be combined later, through minimal intervention.
There is a homely and domestic feel to the centre, promoting health and wellbeing through encouraging activities for learning and development, whilst also considering the need for privacy in some spaces. The connection between the building and the landscape ensures people inside feel comfortable with their exposure and proximity to people outside.
The community centre, on the ground floor, provides valuable resources and a strong visual connection to the community wellbeing gardens, with access to the crèche. It hosts a range of educational, recreational, cultural and social opportunities to promote and advocate for the needs of the groups based in the centre. As well as encourage integration and inclusion between members of the community.
The healthcare centre on the first floor prioritises controlled privacy, understanding the needs of visitors in consultation and treatment. The new facility will provide modern community-focused health facilities for Central and North West London NHS and GP surgery.
The delivery of flexible, adaptable and accessible design is a testament to the consultation journey and our good working relationship with the key stakeholders.
The ground floor has been designed to provide a ranging scale of secure and private zones, from fully open and publicly accessible entrance spaces, to a secure crèche at the rear of the building, ensuring privacy and safeguarding.
Orientated in a ‘race track’ layout, with the patient rooms facing outwards and the back of house services concentrated internally. The architectural design of the hub applies an additional layer of playfulness by projecting several consultation rooms from the elevation as boxes. Internal and external spaces are interconnected through large glazed panels, framing the parkland views and maximising levels of natural light whilst bringing the enjoyment and tranquillity of the gardens indoors.
The hub utilises tactile natural materials throughout to enhance the visitor’s experience. Glulam timber sections are used as a secondary skin to the brick, creating an organic and playful pattern and opportunity for plants to climb the external trellis, further connecting the building to the surrounding gardens it sits within.
Community-led and community owned
It was critical, through the design, to create something people could contribute to and make their own.
This included two new community gardens to be managed and maintained by the local community with the supervision of ACC.
The project team also introduced several social initiatives, such as mentoring a local person with an interest in entering the construction industry.
Sustainability was a priority throughout, focusing on intelligent solutions to reduce energy output where possible and targeting BREEAM Excellent.
Camden, London, NW6 4DN
NLA Awards 2021
Shortlisted - Unbuilt Category
Possilpark Health Centre
At the heart of the wider masterplan, we designed a new way of providing community health and social services, allowing patients access to lots of different facilities in a single visit.
A major mixed-use regeneration project that rejuvenates and revitalises the town centre. Alongside new homes and a hotel, a new healthcare facility will meet the future needs of the local population.