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Healthy Daylighting

This Health Centre at Thetford in Norfolk is a community hospital. The brief was to design a new facility which combines consulting rooms with a variety of different treatment facilities, from general practice to chiropractor, from exercise to child care. The 2555sqm building replaces an existing and outdated community hospital in the town. Funded through the LIFT programme, the design development process included a raft of consultations with prospective users.

The Design

The two story building is arranged with the clinical rooms positioned mostly around the perimeter to maximise use of natural light and views. It was designed to be naturally ventilated. The design aimed to create a positive atmosphere with a deep plan broken by the two story drums which bring light into the centre of the building and create a dramatic waiting area. In order to maximise light, Kalwall translucent glazing has been used to full height in the consulting rooms while at the same time retaining privacy. Occasional clear glass opening windows and glazed doors onto the garden areas create a sense of connection with the immediate outside space.

The Comments

Helen Wheeler of LA Architects said, ‘This is a highly visible and well-used facility. We wanted to introduce a human scale solution, one which people would find attractive and beneficial to their well-being. Our choice of Kalwall was partly visual, because the diffused daylighting creates a delightful internal ambience, and partly practical because the translucent glazing retains privacy and is also highly insulating. We integrated the Kalwall panels with windows to incorporate views out onto the spaces.’  The Thetford Centre is also the subject of a case study published by CABE in Health Building Note 11-01 – Facilities for primary and community services.

The Solution

Kalwall is the most highly insulating diffuse light transmitting cladding (and skylighting) system available. It is designed to transmit “museum-quality” light evenly across the interior without glare or harsh contrasts of light and shade. The translucent panels are factory prefabricated to the exact size and configuration for each project. Panels can be flat or curved, and opening or fixed glazed window units can be incorporated. The panel is generally 70mm thick (100mm is also available) and by providing various densities of insulation. the thermal resistance and therefore ‘U’ values can be varied without loss of light. With Cabot Aerogel (previously called Nanogel), a ‘U’ value of 0.28W/m²K can be achieved. Kalwall is resistant to damage and is largely self- cleaning.

More Information

For Technical information, downloadable publications, project case studies and short videos, please visit or tel 020 8660 7667.

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