Flexible zonal design to accommodate future needs

The Wood Wharf Health Centre, located on the Isle of Dogs in London, aims to provide primary healthcare and community accommodation to an expanding local population of up to 17,500 patients. The new two-story centre will support the Canary Wharf Group residential development and was delivered through Section 106 and Community Investment funding.

The facility was designed to be agile and connected, providing modern, innovative, and responsive healthcare services accessible to all. The project’s success relied on four key aspects: wellbeing and sustainability, connectivity, efficiency, and flexibility.

Wellbeing and sustainability.

One of the key design aspects was to promote wellbeing and sustainability. The centre’s interiors incorporated natural materials, calming colours, and warm textures to provide patients with a comfortable and welcoming environment. The design team followed BREEAM and DQI for Health assessments to guide and confirm decisions at every design stage, ensuring the facility was sustainable and environmentally friendly. The building’s architecture allowed for an abundance of daylight and sunlight to penetrate the deeper parts of the building, enhancing the patient experience and promoting a sense of wellbeing.

Connectivity and efficiency.

Connecting people and encouraging movement through the spaces and across teams, and incorporating intelligent building technology has created an efficient health centre for the future. Digital wayfinding screens throughout the building aids users with directional navigation and are used for showcasing important patient information.

Flexibility and wayfinding.

The design moved away from traditional space allocation, shaping the space around clinical, non-clinical, and public zones to allow for a flexible design that enables a higher future capacity within the building. These differing zones comprised standard consulting rooms, treatment rooms, and a work environment that included facilities for remote consultations, including telephone triage and video conferencing in the future. The entrance is visible from the access road, with an illuminated NHS sign within the entrance aiding wayfinding for patients and visitors on arrival.

Design development.

During the design development stage, the team incorporated a flexible approach and used a room loading process, providing users with QR codes to communicate designs in 3D. This tool helped demonstrate how spaces could work in new ways, encouraging closer collaboration between healthcare teams, fostering innovation, and starting new conversations around how the project could improve health outcomes.

“AECOM have provided an exemplar multi-disciplinary design service through all RIBA work-stages, in the delivery of a leading community health care facility located at Wood Wharf in Tower Hamlets. The architectural design is uplifting, with all spaces carefully crafted from the arrival space though to the patient treatment areas providing a first-class patient experience for the local community.”

Dean Musk, Head of Estates and Capital Programmes, NHS North East London

The centre’s opening has been a great success, with patients and staff alike enjoying the modern, innovative, and responsive healthcare services provided. The project has exceeded expectations and providing a much-needed healthcare facility for the expanding local population.

Services: Lead and principal designer, architecture, interior design, acoustic, mechanical, electrical, public health engineering and BREEAM services.

Client: NHS Property Services on behalf of WEL Clinical Commissioning Groups

Completion: 2023