Yorkshire-based ACA has designed the £19.4 m Scunthorpe Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, responding to a brief ‘for a world class, state-of-the-art landmark to enhance Scunthorpe city centre, which will be a one-stop-shop providing access to a range of diagnostic tests closer to home’. A bio-inspired design has been harnessed ‘to create an empathetic response associated to nature’s wisdom’. The practice said: “The proposed design considers that the molecules that make up physical matter vibrate with energy, which is reflected in the design of the wave silhouettes of the ultra-sound tissue harmonic imaging on the façade. The aim is to create a space that vibrates continuously and positively influences the occupants’ emotional wellbeing. Ultra-sound waves are the simplest forms of diagnostic waves used in detecting the birth of a new life.”
ACA says it has ‘pushed the boundaries’ using a hybrid Modern Method of Construction system ‘for this innovative design’. The two-storey floorplates will be built using pre-manufactured three-dimensional units of steel frame and concrete floors. This will allow early completion of the building envelope to meet a tight funding deadline, and the internal fit-out to be carried out independently. The façade will incorporate rainscreen cladding technology, with standard modular sizes coordinated with the required openings. The building’s interior layout is ‘characterised by a simple plan form, and a logical layout that makes navigation easier’.
Construction work has started, with the new CDC expected to be completed next summer. ACA MD and Principal architect, Alex Caruso, said: “The proposed development will provide a long-lasting, invaluable asset to the community, as the site is in the heart of Scunthorpe, next to the shopping centre and St John’s Market. The scheme captures the opportunities from this distinctive setting, creating a relationship with the urban context, blending purpose and functionality, while embracing cultural and civic values that inspire and engage its visitors.”
ACA has used a simple palette of surface materials ‘to establish a visual connection with the surrounding context and aid orientation’, with an inviting main entrance. Extensive glazing for this ‘inviting’ space – emphasised by the overhanging first floor forming a canopy to shield the patient drop-off point – will ‘promote transparency for the services offered, and easy access from the existing path network’.
The practice said: “The naturally lit foyer provides a welcoming and comfortable reception and patient waiting area. The abundance of daylight will improve patients’ health and well-being. The elevations are characterised by a harmonious pattern of design balancing cold and warm materials, solid and transparent areas, light and nature, to support the patients’ multi-sensory experience. Natural materials such as timber cladding and brise soleil (arranged based on the pattern of a Fibonacci sequence), and external planters, will soften the façade’s appearance, and support a biophilic design strategy.”
ACA says the design will achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’, with materials selected to achieve a Net Zero carbon emission building. Sustainable features will include natural ventilation, an airtight and high-performing thermal envelope, triple-glazed openings, and curtain walls with proportions calculated based on orientation and a green roof.