Neuropsychiatric centre, Zaragoza
Neural activity reflected in architecture
ZARAGOZA (ES) - G.bang architecture office has recently completed the first phase of the extension of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, a neuropsychiatric centre in north-west Spain. Located within a rural context on the outskirts of Zaragoza, the new 1000 m2 building incorporates ten single and eight double bedrooms, common living and dining areas, as well as offices and facilities for the staff. The building is part of a larger extension whose second phase includes the construction of a workshops pavilion. The new compound formally counterpoises the existing two-storey-high rationalist buildings, tucked within the natural surroundings and removed from the glances of outsiders. The bold and bright red silhouette of the differently sloping roofs becomes the hallmark of the new centre, immediately grabbing one's attention.
The shape of the each part of the roof is meant to be a direct translation of the degree of mental activity performed underneath, explains the architect. The peak of 240%, for instance, covers the common areas, the smoother 60% roof shelters the resting and sleeping areas, while the flat area is set above spaces intended for the medical staff.
The interior ceilings are designed in conjunction with the shape of the roof as well, resulting in quite dramatic long, narrow spaces – like the main corridor across the overall volume – but fading in strength when they come into contact with the facades and their square window openings. The three entrances are defined by corresponding cut-outs executed on the volume. The bigger one, facing northwards and used as summer courtyard, results in a buffer space between the white interior and the open countryside that is perceived from within.
The g.bang office defines its approach as a 'concern for architecture that provokes feelings, somehow risky, as something we often denominate as "sexy architecture"…'. With the red-fired, galvanized sheet metal-covered structure for mentally disabled youngsters, they certainly have succeeded in making their point.
Tuesday | 15 May | 2012 | Spain | Marta Gonzalez