<< Back to projects


Primary Health Care Centres

Walker LIFT

During his career Geoffrey Purves has designed over 50 primary health care projects during 30 years in business. He is also an Honorary Research Associate at CAHHM. Geoffrey has published a book entitled ‘Healthy Living Centres’ which explores the process of designing buildings for primary health care. The second edition ‘Primary Care Centres’ was published in 2009. With the message that good design means healthy living, Geoffrey Purves shows the beneficial effects that a good brief can bring to the staff, patients and visitors of health care facilities - and gives a practical guide to achieving this.

Primary Care Centres Front Copy              Healthy Living Centres front cover

In the Foreward Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, Chancellor of the University of Glasgow and former UK Chief Medical Officer wrote:-

"It is remarkable just how rapidly thinking and development can advance in just a few years in any specialty. When the first edition of this book appeared I noted that health care buildings needed to change and adapt to the changes in the way services were being delivered. They needed to present patients and the public with a new vision of health, in the same way that practitioners were trying to think more of the needs of the person behind an illness. This volume shows just how much has been accomplished and how experience from different parts of the country and the world can inspire and practical learning can occur.
I also noted that at the heart of all health service architectural developments there needed to retain a focus on patients and the staff involved, and that the architect was part of a large team with the vision of improving patient care and well being. Once again this is a key part of this book.

My own interests in the arts and health are represented, reflecting again on an important development in patient care. This area has developed substantially over the last ten years with the visual arts and architecture becoming more prominent. This, together with the chapter on holistic care puts patients where they matter, at the centre of the process. The major case studies provide a rich seam to mine for reflection and fresh thinking.

In the first edition I also noted that as a schoolboy I had always wanted to be an architect, perhaps because Charles Rennie MacIntosh had been a pupil at the same school before me. If things had been different and I had chosen architecture as a profession, I hope I might have written such a book as this, bringing together as it does many of my own professional medical interests in patient care, the arts, and my passion for space and buildings

A few words from CRM says it all.

Reason informed by emotion, expressed in beauty, elevated by earnestness, lightened by humour; that is the ideal that should guide all artists."

Geoffrey explores in this book the process of planning and designing buildings for frontline medical practice. Taking as a starting point the concept that good design contributes directly to healthy living, the book shows beneficial effects that a good design brief can bring to the staff, patients and visitors of health care facilities. It outlines principles for designs that are both practical and useful.

Extract from the Executive Summary of the Chapter written by Dr Geoffrey Purves for the fourth edition of The Metric Handbook.
Primary care premises are generally complex small scale buildings (when compared to hospitals) with many functional requirements to accommodate.  They tend to be busy places with many people entering and leaving the building during the course of the day including patients, doctors, nurses and other service personnel. So it is understandable that the NHS has focused on issues of functionality and cost to evaluate the design of this building type. However, in the last few years there has been a fundamental shift in this approach and there is now much greater emphasis placed on the evaluation of the quality of design. Hence, this section attempts to set out that the ethos of the place is of paramount importance and the organisation of spaces within the building should flow from this overarching principle. The new wave of publications from the Department of Health recognise the importance of creating a high-quality working environment.  These notes seek to guide the designer to establish qualitative factors through discussion with the users of the building and then refer to the detailed guidance on the ergonomic requirements for ensuring that room data sheets accommodate the functional requirements of a room. Current thinking is to assume that the use of rooms may change over time and, therefore, flexibility for change is also important.

Metric Handbook cover


Canon Dr A Geoffrey Purves
Purves Limited
Hawthorn House
Kirkwhelpington
Northumberland
NE19 2RT

Tel: 01830 540376
Tel: 077363 55161
Email: Click here to email us