Medical architecture is a category observers tend to pay little attention to, and yet it is the form of architecture entrusted with protecting us when we are most vulnerable, cocooning us when we are unwell. Only when we are forced to spend some time in one of these facilities do we realise the importance of proper spatial, technical and material design in such buildings.
This is what happened to one illustrious predecessor, Alvar Aalto, when working on Paimio hospital (1933), who saw the condition of patient as the right point of view from which to work on spatial and compositional design of the complex as a whole.
Architect Eduardo Merello Godino, a partner in studio EACSN, is familiar with this kind of construction, as he has built numerous hospitals in Spain, his native land.
The most recent of these is Centro Médico y de Bienestar Milenium de Alcobendas in Alcobendas (Madrid).
The original building around which the studio worked dated back to the 70s, was of poor technical and aesthetic quality and had to be redesigned in terms of both volumetrics and cladding. The renovation project hinged on eco-sustainability, a theme close to studio EACSN’s heart, and use of the existing building minimised the wastes that would have been generated by demolition and reconstruction.
The focus shifted to technical aspects, to improvement of the building’s thermal and acoustic conditions. New green areas were integrated in the urban development of the lot, with use of long-lasting recycled materials. And it is precisely the use of materials that gives this project its identity, standing out from overstated façade architecture, in that it makes ceramics and recycled timber the keys to the project.
The result demonstrates that a public works project can be implemented with a stronger focus on quality of life for the workers, patients and visitors who use a healthcare facility.
This project definitely fits in the line of architecture history which we like to think of as going back to Alvar Aalto’s experience and his focus on the people who actually use hospitals; Eduardo Merello Godino interprets this focus not only in his use of perspective but in the quality of the environment he creates.
EACSN reveals its ecological heart in this project, using ceramics on the building’s façade and in its interiors, using it as a material capable of responding to both aesthetic and technical needs without neglecting reduction of environmental impact with use of FMG Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti’s Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic™.
This antibacterial ceramic unit reduces the pollutants that have now become a constant in our urban lives, as well as eliminating proliferation of the most dangerous strains of bacteria.
The building’s ventilated façade thus provides both external thermal insulation to reduce the building’s energy requirements with passive protection and an anti-pollutant volume capable of renewing the air we breathe inside and around the complex.
Architect Eduardo Merello Godino offers his comments: “…the simplicity and speed of assembly, the physical properties in terms of dimensions, colours and structure of the material and the fact that it helps clean the air are the major strong points of this material…”. Having made this assumption part of his practice of construction, the Spanish architect has come up with a renovation project which fully qualifies as a building handing down material culture as part of its heritage for posterity.
Active ceramic surfaces used:
White Purity - FMG Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti
Arch. Eduardo Merello Godino