[FIRST LOOK + PROJECT DATA] Barbara Weiss Architects has completed this £2.3 million conversion of a redundant 1990s office into a new medical centre
The steel-frame building in Wokingham, Berkshire had been built as speculative office 20 years ago. The practice has remodelled the interior and added a new third floor to create a 1,500m² medical centre, providing space for 16 GPs and five nurses, together with a new pharmacy and medical suite.
The main entrance has been moved and a large canopy reflecting the existing curved stair tower added. Opening out onto a terrace, the third storey houses a pavilion for meeting and conference space and is set back from the north-east elevation.
Commenting on the project, lead client GP, Vijay Bhardwaj, said: ‘Barbara Weiss Architects’ approach to design has enabled us to deliver for Wokingham a beautiful, contemporary and innovative building.
‘The practice has shown beyond doubt that medical spaces can be fit for purpose without being institutional, clinical or bland. Wokingham Medical Centre has warmth, character and, with its lighting and palette of materials and colours, is a building that is calm and reassuring.’
The architect’s view
‘The brief was simply to accommodate a large number of patients (the centre will serve a catchment area of up to 32,000) and GPs within a calm, non-institutionalised environment. We substantially extended the existing building and added a penthouse conference room on the roof. Design features include bespoke joinery used to create an intimate suite of consulting areas throughout the building and clinical examination areas at the rear. The use of intelligent glass glazing on the front elevation at first and second floors, provides touch-of-a-button privacy to the consulting rooms behind.
‘Due to the variation in Wokingham’s building styles – from fourteenth century timber framed buildings in Rose Street, fifteenth century overhangs in Peach Street, to white rendered Georgian houses and 1990’s red brick office blocks – the challenge for us was to design Wokingham Medical Centre so that its materials and appearance were appropriate both to its context and to its use as a modern public medical facility.’
Location Wokingham, Berkshire
Type of project medical centre
Client Wokingham Medical Centre
Architect Barbara Weiss Architects
Structural engineer: Alan Conisbee and Associates
M&E consultant Peter Deer and Associates
Quantity surveyor Smith Turner
Main contractor Beard
Commissioned February 2011
Planning permission May 2012
Start on site date January 2013
Completion date January 2014
Gross internal floor area 1,500m²
Total cost £2.3 million