- Gloucestershire Care Services
- Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
- Project Leaders
- Robert Walder
Our brief was to convert a vacant Victorian building in Cheltenham into a modern health centre with state-of-the-art facilities that provided a contraception and sexual health clinic offering NHS walk-in advice.
There were a number of key challenges with this project but the two at the forefront were; how to design the building for a service that required a sensitive approach to care, and appropriately convert a Victorian building to make it fit for purpose within a clinical environment. Both required a delicate and discrete design, which was steered by the consultation work with Gloucestershire Care Services and other key stakeholders.
Firstly, although the existing building wasn’t listed, it certainly encompassed qualities of age, style and materials which are locally distinct in the Cheltenham Conservation Area, and was therefore classed as a key unlisted building. This meant that any new external features or alterations to existing features, were designed to fit seamlessly with, and be subservient to, the existing building. Our Conservation Architect worked closely with the Conservation Officer to develop a scheme that really blended and complemented the existing building and locality.
Secondly, for the internal design, our aim was to create a space that put visitors at ease as soon as they walked into the centre and counter the embarrassment patients may feel when they need to visit these services.
To do this we created a separate entrance and exit on the private side of the building to reduce the risk of patients being spotted by either the family or friends. We split out the counselling rooms from clinical spaces, or areas where there would be more foot traffic in order to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere.
High levels of acoustic separating materials were specified to ensure that private conversations, stayed that way and were not inadvertently spread to other areas through poor sound separation of rooms.
Since its opening, the clinic has proven to be a great success and the 5 consulting rooms, with clinical spaces, utility rooms, laboratories, ancillary offices and general accommodation, continue to provide clinicians with well-designed facilities and visitors with excellent and discreet care provision.