Community Health and Wellbeing Hub
Employing Passivhaus principles to achieve operational savings at no additional cost.
NHS England and NHS Improvement
Architype (Passivhaus Design Architect)
RIBA Stage 3 Design Complete
Setting a bold new vision for the delivery of community health services, this exemplar Health and Wellbeing Hub integrates clinical and social care models to address the broad influences of health and wellbeing. Following on from our work with NHS England to envisage the future of integrated community healthcare facilities, the building is one of six pilot schemes for its Cavell Centre community hub programme. Developed in collaboration with Architype, the building adopts a pioneering approach to sustainable design, as the only pilot project to be designed to Passivhaus standards.
Integrating health and wellness into the community
Designed to feel welcoming and uplifting, the building is centred around a wellbeing hub which is experienced as a series of outdoor courtyards and indoor public squares with an animated café space. Library services, bookable group rooms and local authority and third sector support services link patients with opportunities for social prescribing. A clear wayfinding route separates the ‘public-community’ and ‘private-clinical’ functions of the building and connects all departments.
The boundaries between internal and external have been blurred with large areas of glazing and a common approach to finishes and planting, offering a year-round connection to the outdoors. Throughout the building, biophilic design and natural materials create a comfortable environment with a civic presence. The landscape strategy focuses on providing spaces for nature-based social prescribing activities, including outside exercise classes and gardening groups.
We were extremely fortunate to have Medical Architecture as part of the project group for this innovative NHS Cavell Centre pilot project.
Bob Wills and his team used their skills, expertise and excellent knowledge in translating the healthcare requirements across multiple services into a high-quality architectural design. They were creative, pro-active and paid attention to detail to ensure that the extensive range of client aspirations were fully met.
Exceeding net zero carbon standards with Passivhaus
Designed to Passivhaus standards, the building is highly sustainable and will offer ultra-low, net-zero aligned operational energy performance. An optimised structural grid and services strategy, and a standardised, MMC-ready façade has enabled embodied carbon to be dramatically reduced below the NHS Net Zero Building Standard limits. Efficient heat recovery and passive measures ensure the building remains at a comfortable temperature year-round.
The ambitious approach to sustainability demonstrates how NHS Net Zero Carbon Standards can be achieved simply and effectively through fabric-focused efficient design. Exceeding the standards, the design achieves Passivhaus performance for no additional cost, whilst guaranteeing significant operational savings over the life of the building.
Standardisation and optimisation to enable future change
The building has been designed to integrate a varied community health and wellbeing offering including multiple GP practices, community diagnostics, therapy services, outpatient services, third sector social prescribing organisations, and a health-centred commercial offer. The building is designed to be highly flexible to allow this mix of services and tenants to adapt over time, and even to enable conversion to supported residential or care home accommodation as needs change.
Extensive testing has been carried out to determine an optimum structural grid size and arrangement which provides the most efficient frame for standardised room dimensions that support future adaptability. Rooms and circulation spaces are generously sized, informed by Cavell Centre principles and HBN/HTM guidance. This will ensure the building remains useful well beyond its intended use, extending its design life and minimising its carbon footprint.