Reuben Barker

Reuben Barker

Reuben Barker, who is currently studying at Kingston University, UK (Year 3 of RIBA Part 1), entered the Architects for Health’s First Student Health Design Award (2007) with the following submission. For contact please email: reuben@macdream.net

Health Centre Project: Coram Fields, Bloomsbury, London

The site for this Health Centre lies between Brunswick Sq and the Coram Fields children charity in Bloomsbury, London. The Health Centre contains a pharmacy, practitioners and rehabilitation for those with drug or mental health problems.

The Health Centre also attempts to holistically support the well-being of collective society. It is designed to act as a social node, and encourage interaction. The primary social space allows for healthy activities to be integrated with everyday life. The primary space consists of a restaurant / bar, waiting area and exercise space. It is unified with both Brunswick Sq Park, and the Coram Field’s sports pitches. Health is supported within this space by varied microclimates, allowing thermal comfort to be easily achievable 1.

The theatrical composition of the primary space allows it to be used for performances. Behind the ‘stage’ a timber frame allows all users their own exhibition space within a singularity. Here they may display whatever they wish. This supports the relationship between the individual, sub-group and wider society and culture. This is especially significant for children and drug / mental health rehabilitation patients. Work opportunities are provided for mental health / drug rehabilitation patients at both the health centre and the satellite intervention 500m to the East.

Kevin Lynch studied the ‘environmental image’ of areas 2. Environmental image meaning the understanding people have of their environment, for example a town. Lynch described a coherent environmental image as supporting the well-being of its possessor. I researched what the collective environmental image was of the area surrounding the Coram Fields site 3. This revealed a band of incoherence consuming the site and dividing relatively coherent images of London. This Health Centre project therefore attempts to heal this rift in London. The satellite intervention and modification to the Coram Fields site support this enhancement of the environmental image.

1: Heat has long been associated with health
2: The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch
3: Research based upon general Londoners, site users and students studying the area

The Architects for Health
First Student Health Design Award
was sponsored by

modulex