Saturday, 27 September 2008

Open House 2008 - Waldron Health Centre

One of the best things about London in September is the OpenHouse weekend - this year it was 20-21 September. On the unusally warm Saturday I visited the rather impressive (though still not fully operational) Waldron Health Centre opposite New Cross station. Arriving just before the first tour at 1 it was clear no one had told the security guard to expect visitors! Fortunately a Lewisham PCT guy turned up after a few minutes and started the tour himself - the architect from Buschow Henley had been delayed by a tube closure. We started in the spacious main reception and moved upwards floor by floor.

As I'd long suspected the Centre is a proto-Polyclinic, currently serving 20,000 patients but with the potential for 50,000. For those interested in PFI and all that it's an example of a LIFT. When Craig the architect caught up with us he pointed out the awnings which should extend automatically on warm days (but hadn't) and explained why some doors opened out onto a gaping void (the money for Juliet balconies had run out). The most striking aspect of the Centre - its parquet cladding - gives it "the quality of an oversize piece of 18C furniture" according to the architect.

Via typical consulting and treatment rooms we ended up in the top floor admin area (with a rather nice roof terrace and views toward Canary Wharf). As a patient here myself I can confirm the building is light years better than the old Waldron Health Centre, which was not dissimilar to a prison visitor's centre.

The Press Release (issued on the opening of Phase 1) and Buschow Henley site give more information...


CarolineLD said...

Lucky you! I turned up for the 3pm tour ... and again at 4pm ... and couldn't find any signs of life!

SE8KER said...

That's a shame! As I said it took some persuading the security guard that there was even an open afternoon! Perhaps they locked up early? I'd hoped to do Trinity House and the Blue Fin Building like you did but didn't have time in the end - hopefully they'll be open next year!