Finsbury Health Center set to restore £1.25million | New

Berthold Lubetkin’s modernist masterpiece Finsbury Health Center is set to undergo a £1.25million restoration led by Avanti Architects and supported by campaign group The Twentieth Century Society.

Designed by Lubetkin and the Tecton Group before the National Health Service was founded, the center was the realization of a radical humanitarian program for an underprivileged community in central London, delivered in a new type of building.

The C20 Society said the centre, completed in 1938, encapsulated all of the progressive ideals of modernism – social, technical, aesthetic – combined with a political and architectural conviction unmatched by any other work of its time. In the process, the reinforced concrete structure set a benchmark for the modernist design of many later health centers and hospitals.

The building has suffered water ingress and general deterioration in recent years and is on the government heritage adviser Historic England’s at-risk register. NHS Property Services, which has owned the building since 2013, is working with Avanti Architects and the C20 Society to develop a phased works programme.

After essential maintenance to the building’s roof began last year, the next phase of work will focus on repairs to the facade, including glazing, spandrel panels, glass bricks and tiles. The C20 Society said “careful work” was required to find and match sustainable materials for the project, in particular restoring the original Thermolux glass.

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Avanti first inspected Finsbury Health Center in 1988, before the first repair and conservation works in 1994, with replacement of roof coverings, specialist concrete repair, facsimile tiling and signage, and the restoration of the distinctive curtain wall façade.

This latest phase of work closely follows the 1994 model and aims to complete a project begun some 25 years ago. The mandate of the NHSPS is to significantly improve the condition of the center and carry out sensitive repairs to enable the continued use of the building for the provision of healthcare, ensuring that it can fully meet the needs of health of current and future residents of the region.

C20 Society director Catherine Croft said Finsbury Health Center was a ‘mini-masterpiece of modernism’, much smaller than it appears in photographs and propaganda from war.

Finsbury Health Center Abram Games Poster 1943_Image courtesy of Naomi Games

“It was innovative with materials, designed to be flexible and highly maintained to provide exemplary medical care in an accessible and comfortable environment,” she said. “It’s still a place where you can be proud of British architecture and the NHS. It’s idealistic in all the best and most important ways.

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Former Avanti director John Allan, who is consulting on the current project, said it was “deeply gratifying” to be able to return to work on the project and benefit from the experience gained during the phase. work of the 1990s.

“After all the vicissitudes, this unique work by Lubetkin has endured over the years,” he said. “I hope that all people of goodwill will want to give the proposed project their full support.”

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Avanti Architects director Fiona Lamb said the practice was “delighted” to resume conservation work at the centre.

“The staggered works follow the re-roofing project completed earlier this year by NHS Property Services, which together will help secure this deeply valued resource for its local community,” she said.