St. John's Therapy Centre London 2003–2007
The centre brings together, under one roof, community-based therapy services for accident and stroke victims, a mental health unit for drugs and alcohol dependents and two GP practices.

‘In recognising that the LIFT buildings represent that rarest of things, a new typology, the architects have coined an architectural expression that has wide application’ Ellis Woodman, 2007

Image 1

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    Detail of the graphic caryatid ST JOHN'S on the main street façade of this public building
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    The building is synonymous with the neighbourhood, St. John's Hill in South London
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    First floor plan - the Centre is planned around two courtyard gardens and overlooking two side streets. The design creates a private aspect for clinical rooms. Internal circulation is organised around these courtyards
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    Entrance hall with open stair leading directly to the first floor reception
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    Detail of west courtyard garden and entrance hall beyond. These gardens daylight the interior and aid orientation
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    The concrete frame is exposed throughout to enable natural ventilation. Here, the exposed concrete soffit of the first floor waiting area is painted a warm bright yellow
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    The building is planned so that the larger mechanically ventilated spaces - gymnasium, waiting areas and meeting rooms - act as an environmental buffer controlling solar gain, road noise and pollution
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    Long section through first floor physiotherapy gym and waiting space. Rooms are generally 10% larger than NHS standards aiding day-to-day functionality and interchangeability of use making the building more flexible and adaptable
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    The rear facade, by contrast, reveals the regular pattern of fenestration associated with a cellular building of this kind. The building is planned on a 1.2m module – rooms, windows and cladding are set out to the same module
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    We sought to offset the ‘civic’ scale of the new building with the warmth and richness of timber. Louvres on the east and west elevations provide solar shading and acoustic baffles
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    Detail of the rear (north) façade
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    Offices and staff facilities are located on the upper floors. View from rooftop staff room


  • Appointment: 2003
  • Construction start: 2005
  • Completion: 2007
  • Area: 3,529m2
  • Budget: £6.7m
  • Sustainable credentials: CO2 emissions/m² treated floor area: 75.4kgCO2/m²; NEAT Excellent Rating
  • Form of contract: Design & Build
  • Client: Wandsworth PCT; Building Better Health; South West London Health Partnership
  • Contractor: Willmott Dixon
  • Services Engineer: Whitby Bird
  • Structural Engineer: Price & Myers
  • Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
  • Landscape Architect: Landscape Projects
  • Building Control: MLM


  • Graham Bizley, ‘Architecture in Detail II’, in: Architecture in Detail II (Architectural Press, 2010), pp.132–134
  • ‘50 years of London Architecture 1960-2010’, in: 50 years of London Architecture 1960-2010 (Wordsearch / Architecture Club, June 2010), p.267
  • ‘Case Notes: Client Leadership (Exemplary Healthcare Buildings)’, in: 'Case Note 2' (Architecture & Design Scotland, May 2009), pp.26–35
  • Ken Allinson, ‘London's Contemporary Architecture: 5th Edition’, in: London's Contemporary Architecture: 5th Edition (Architectural Press, May 2009), pp.360–361
  • ‘Architecture Technology & Design (China)’, in: Architecture Technology & Design (China) (November 2008), pp.56–61
  • ‘Atlas of 21st Century Architecture’, in: Atlas of 21st Century Architecture (Phaidon, September 2008), p.301
  • Ellis Woodman, ‘'Review of the Year', The Daily Telegraph’, in: 'Review of the Year', The Daily Telegraph (15 February 2009), p.23
  • Andrew Sansom, ‘'Meeting of Minds', Hospital Development Magazine’, in: 'Meeting of Minds', Hospital Development Magazine (February 2007), pp.16–19
  • Ellis Woodman, ‘'Body Building', Building Design’, in: 'Body Building', Building Design (16 February 2009), pp.12–17


  • Civic Trust Awards, (Commendation) 2008
  • Wandsworth Design Award, 2008
  • AIA/UK Excellence in Design Award, (Commendation) 2007
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