Kentish Town Health Centre, London

The building features an internal street, which is five metres wide and runs north to south across its full length, widening in the middle to create a triple-height waiting area with a reception desk flanked by two stair cores.

We initially wanted brick for the reception floor, to bring an exterior feel inside, but decided on a layer of 300mm x 300mm Quiligotti Terrazzo tiles from Pilkington, which are more hard wearing and easier to maintain and clean.

Each tile comprises hundreds of black chips set in a grey cementitious layer. They provide a great contrast with the colourful graphics on the walls and the colourful furniture in the adjoining cafe. The tiles were ground and polished on site by installer TRI Contracting.

The tiles are installed over an underfloor heating system and have a high thermal capacity, allowing them to absorb lots of heat and release it over time. However, we also had to install lots of movement joints around corners and along the perimeter walls to accommodate expansions and contractions in the screed layer.

The tiles are relatively expensive, but because this was a LIFT project and the developer has a 25-year obligation to maintain the building, capital cost wasn’t as important as the lifecycle cost of maintenance and replacement, so were able to spend more on hard-wearing tiles. It’s an interesting form of procurement and probably means we have a better-looking building as a result.