Libby Makinson

Libby Makinson, who is studying at The University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (BA2 Part1), entered the Architects for Health’s First Student Health Design Award (2007) with the following submission. For contact please email:

Health2 Charlotte Square Health Centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A Health Centre for residents in the city centre conservation area of Grainger Town. Situated in a steeply dual sloped Georgian square, the site challenged accessibility issues and space planning.

The city centre location gave the project its social agenda, its concept derived to create much needed public space to both the front and rear of the centre.

The simple three-storey block completes the square, and provides public open space to the rear, that enjoys the best of both morning and evening sunshine. As one approaches from Charlotte Square, the linear block appears to be two storeys high, and if one ventures to the rear of the site the same can be said: the slope of the site hides the centre’s true scale.

The accommodation is organised with public and community facilities (the pharmacy, cafe, community health room and health visitor) on the ground floor with direct access from Charlotte Square.

The consulting rooms and reception are all on the first floor (with direct access from the rear public square and car park), and staff areas are located on the second floor complete with their own south-facing terrace.

The apparently random window positions are derived from standing and sitting eye heights for both able-bodied users and those using wheelchairs and by the specific activities in each room. The horizontal and vertical timber cladding adds rhythm and acts in contrast to the predominantly brick elevations adjacent. The use of bricks with their frogs facing outwards is a symbol of the square’s past and also helps communicate the use of a grid BECO structure onto the facade.

With its simple planning and community facilities the centre aims to relocalise health provision and act as a positive catalyst for further regeneration of the area.

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


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