Niall McLaughlin Architects were approached to design a network of sixty Primary Care Centers throughout Ireland over a five year period. The design of a collection of near-identical buildings based on a prototype was an unappealing prospect. Instead the practice sought to enable an organic process of design for each building so that the unique identity of a place could be appropriately represented in the architecture.
The practice were asked to help the client select and coordinate a team of architects who could be engaged under a Framework Agreement. Collaborating with a team of consultants in a broad range of building disciplines, the practice produced a briefing document – the Pattern Book – to assist the framework architects with the building design. The Pattern Book was extremely detailed. It set out the organisational and spatial arrangements of the polyclinics, proposed suitable environmental and structural systems and put forward certain standard construction details. It also provided tools for effective communication, coordination protocols, and costing plans. The practice took care to ensure that the Pattern Book was more than a “How-To” Manual but conveyed the values and ethos of the client organisation to the framework architects.