As the centre was being built, a few residents of the neighbouring conservation area were less than happy with its design. A local paper which took up their cause, described the centre's drum-shaped hub as a pillbox from which guns might even been expected to be seen poking from the windows. Twelve years later, the Idle Medical Centre feels as though it has created something special in its relationship with its neighbourhood. A survey of patients and staff resulted in high approval ratings of the building (patients 76%; practice staff 69%; building technical managers 67%). As one doctor in the practice said, 'Walking into a building like this makes me feel better myself.'
The Idle Medical Centre clearly asserts its presence both internally with its atrium and externally with its bold, uncompromising tower. While the latter uncompromisingly places the centre at the heart of the village, the atrium aims to provide an oasis of calm where patients can relax before their appointments, chat with friends, wander around the small garden - or even shop in the pharmacy.
It is certainly true that the indoor garden looks a little tired and in need of attention and the art works need cleaning but, for the most part, the 12 year-old centre has worn well, unaffected by an increasing footfall.
The Idle Medical Centre offers an excellent example of the fruitful relationship between a client with clear ideas about the kind of building required and its function, and an architect with the imagination to translate these concepts into reality.