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Open Door Health & Social Care

The Open Door Health and Social Care Building is built on the site of a former school in the East Marsh area of the Lincolnshire town of Grimsby. Funded by the Department of Health, the centre provides both GP services and a range of social support services for people with additional needs, including homelessness and those living with addiction, under the one roof.

The brief was to build an iconic healthcare building that would kickstart the regeneration of a neglected area of Grimsby. The solution, developed by Clive Sall Architects, successfully merges civic scale with the domestic streetscape to create an eye-catching building that sits comfortably within its predominantly residential setting.

The building's striking, angular facades are given even greater visual impact by the StoTherm Classic external wall insulation system, which features a vibrant, geometric pattern.

Designing on a domestic scale

The building's unique external appearance is derived from the geometry of parallel rows of terraced houses, with their saw-tooth roof profiles, encircling the site. For the Open Door building, the architect has orientated these terraces at an angle of 45 degrees from the building's front facade to give the building its distinctive geometric appearance.

"We took the familiar shape of rows of terrace houses lined up adjacent to each other and then sliced them at an angle to provide an unfamiliar gable end," explains Ben Lovedale, lead project designer at Clive Sall Architects.

The domestic terrace concept also helped dissolve the large mass of the building, giving it a more domestic scale to make it look less institutional and more welcoming and intimate. "The single storey building was conceived so that its external appearance was distinctive and noticeable but which contained internal spaces that were intimate and friendly to enable people to feel at home," says Lovedale.

The terraces' orientation also helped improve the effectiveness of the scheme's solar technologies.

Dazzle Camouflage

The striking, angular appearance of the building's facades is further enhanced by the vivid geometric pattern incorporated into the StoTherm Classic external wall insulation system. The pattern was developed by the architect working with the building's users to acknowledge Grimsby's maritime history. "The design evolved from the dazzle camouflage used on warships in the past," explains Lovedale.

In the same way dazzle camouflage was used to help break up the outline of battleships, the use of coloured geometric shapes on the Open Door building helps to break-up the building's facades. The facade is finished in in three colours: orange, blue and white. "The end users were keen for the scheme not to look like a local healthcare building," says Lovedale.

The orange and blue colours are Open Door's branded colours; these are offset by neutral white. Vibrant orange is also used internally to highlight doorways and to aide way-finding. "The Open Door colours are utilised externally to identify the building immediately with its users" explains Lovedale.

Speed of build

To ensure it could be completed quickly and easily the health centre was designed and built using a steel frame system. The scheme even features steel-framed internal partitioning clad in plasterboard. Similarly, Sto-Turbofix high-speed spray adhesive was used to enable the Sto EWI system to be simply and speedily attached to the external sheathing board on the outside of the building.

The StoTherm Classic external wall insulation system was selected because the scheme's design and build contractor, Wild Goose Construction, wanted a reliable insulation solution. "The developer wanted an insulated external render system that provided certainty in the quality of finish," Lovedale says. "Sto was very helpful in developing the design," he adds.

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Open Door Health & Social Care

See the project page for Open Door Health & Social Care.

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