Henley Halebrown Rorrison - The Waldron in Lewisham, South London Print E-mail
Friday, 10 December 2010 08:17

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The phased masterplan development of The Waldron health centre in Lewisham South London has just been completed. Designed to change people’s perception of healthcare, The Waldron is planned around a new civic square framed by the health centre, shops, and a 5-storey development with street level café. Inside, the 6,029 sq m health centre is organised around two courtyard gardens and a spacious foyer featuring a site-specific installation by artist Martin Richman.
HhBR-01Located in the London Borough of Lewisham just north of London’s South Circular inner ring road, in an area in which housing estates and tower blocks populate a discontinuous landscape, the new centre replaces an anonymous single storey health centre with a significant urban development that has a greater capacity to shape the fabric of the locality and form a backdrop for public activity.
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HhBR-02The site, a north-facing peninsula block, neighbouring New Cross station is bounded by streets on three sides and sits on the western end of a pedestrian route - Douglas Way – that links local amenities including a leisure centre, arts centre and school, shopping street (Deptford High St) and park (Fordham Park). Community allotments occupy the southeast quadrant of the peninsula itself.

The design demonstrates the practice’s interest in creating a public building with the presence of a civic landmark that has the capacity to shape the daily lives of those living nearby, whilst at the same time retaining a level of intimacy necessary for clinical consultation. The plan is generated from the patient’s perspective. The design seeks to describe a narrative journey in five frames beginning with the square leading inside first to a foyer, then cloister, waiting room and finally to a clinical room.

The design conceives of a Z-shaped building that occupies the northeast and southwest quadrants of the peninsula and frames two contrasting public spaces – one, the existing allotments, the other, a new square in the northwest quadrant which opens up a diagonal route to New Cross station. The building rises from two storeys in the northeast to four in the southwest to complement the 3-storey brick Victorian school building on Stanley Street to the east.
HhBR-05The concrete framed building is clad in a veneered rainscreen, which gives it a rich cherry wood colour redolent of Eighteenth Century furniture or a musical instrument casing, bringing a warmth and humanity to the building. Louvres on east and west elevations, acting both as solar protection and acoustic baffles, are fabricated from the same timber component further suppressing the repetitive windows. Bronze-anodised windows are variously proud, flush and recessed. Seen obliquely from the South Circular the Waldron appears as a large crafted timber cabinet in the city.
HhBR-06The square and west façade are framed by a canopy, concrete arcade and screen, all of which invite proximity and provide a counterpoint in scale and material to the greater building mass. Resting on the canopy are storey high super graphics WALDRON, HEALTH and CENTRE. Seen together they constitute a useful sign, but, seen apart, as they often are, they play a part in the composition of each elevation and in the sculptural and material character of the whole.

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Last Updated on Friday, 10 December 2010 08:49
 
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