Hand cut Ibstock bricks, and the innovative brick-faced support system Nexus, has been specified to create a modern interpretation of a historical building design for a new health centre in Glasgow.
The brief for the new £20 million Woodside Health and Care Centre was complex in terms of both the building design and the site itself. Historically, Glasgow is a city that is characterised by a pre-1900 adherence to building against the street edge and following a rectangular grid. This created what is commonly known as gushet blocks, a triangular building standing on a corner or creating an angle between two roads. The site for the new centre was one such gushet block and it was important to architects Page/Park that the historical importance of the former building was reflected in the new centre’s design.
Whilst exemplary in terms of its building design, the former 1970s health facility that stood on this site no longer met the current standards of building fabric, environmental conditions and accessibility. The new healthcare facility was designed to address these issues and bring together a range of primary and community care services under one roof.
Set over three and a half storeys, the 6,730 square metre development is a significant investment in the health and wellbeing of the local community, providing a more integrated and efficient health service. Replacing a former single storey building, the new Centre also brings a significant urban scale and presence back to the area, whilst paying homage to historic local architecture and complementing other modern developments that have been completed nearby.
The triangular shape of the site also allowed the key functions of the building to have their own entrances. Ensuring that this had sufficient visual impact was essential to the overall success of the project. This was achieved using precast concrete panels featuring artwork, designed by Bespoke Atelier, inspired by historic local industry and fauna to mark the entrances at either end of the building and Ibstock’s Birtley Beamish blend of hand cut brick, which was chosen to contrast with the very hard, sharp brickwork of the building opposite. Flawless brick-faced soffits were also achieved by using the brick’s specialist’s innovative brick support system, Nexus.
Combining specially developed Ibstock Kevington lightweight brick-faced steel unit with Ancon MDC stainless steel bracket angle support system, Nexus provides an easy-to-install, aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional cast concrete solutions. The lightweight nature of the Nexus units means they can also be lifted into position and fixed by hand, without the need for specialist lifting equipment, minimising both cost and disruption on site.
The flexibility of the Nexus system meant that a complete soffit and lintel solution could be developed for Woodside allowing the architects to fulfil their ambitious design vision. Prefabricated off-site to precise specifications and faced with Ibstock brick slips from the same batch as the main brickwork, the BBA accredited Nexus units ensured a flawless texture and colour match to the main façade brickwork. The simple vertical and horizontal adjustment, inherent in the Nexus design, also allowed the units to be adjusted to achieve perfect alignment with the main brickwork when completed. The overall result is a visually interesting and contemporary new health facility for the local area.
“The Nexus system enabled us to fulfil the brief for clean building lines and large window openings,” commented Colin Glover, Project Architect PAGE\PARK Architects. “The hand-cut bricks and window openings make the whole façade appear softer to the eye, which in turn disguises the overall size of the building from street level. The street elevations reflect the local materials of surrounding developments, whilst the subtle detailing of the brick with its double string coursing pays homage to the historical appearance of the buildings in this area. The final result is a modern interpretation of a historical building design that sits beautifully within the streetscape.”