Modern hospital extension
The Clínica Girona has been standing for more than 80 years and is deeply rooted in the history of the Catalan city of Girona. The main ensemble in the city centre was no longer large enough to provide the wide range of medical services now available and, as a result, the PMMT Arquitectura practice designed a new building for the clinic on the southern outskirts. The clinic’s floorspace has been almost tripled, thus facilitating a far higher level of medical provision. The new building by PMMT is tailor-made for the clinic’s requirements.
A compact entity comprising eight storeys above ground and three below exploits the site’s potential to optimum effect. The building contains three interior courtyards, moreover, that enable all rooms to gain access to natural daylight and fresh air. It features continuous strip windows set back in such a way that vertical louvres running round the building’s façade are able to deliver a form of non-technological sunshading. The building’s façades are a direct response to its location, revealing a different disposition to each of the four points of the compass.
The south-facing façade is what anyone entering Girona first sees and, as well as being an exuberant landmark, is also the point through which ambulance casualties are admitted. The main entrance faces northwards. There is a stunning view of Girona and her cathedral to be had from the upper storeys on this side. This north-facing façade extends all the way along the street and is enlivened by an extra-high basement that affords generous visual access to the high airy foyer within.
Architecture and object
Patricio Martinez and Maximia Torruella of PMMT Architectura
Photo: © Conrad
“When a thing is designed to meet a need, then it will inevitably turn out to be something beautiful,” is an adage that sums up PMMT’s working philosophy nicely.
Architecture as life improver
“We regard our architecture as a tool placed at society’s service with which to respond to complex challenges,” is how the architects at PMMT Arquitectura see their work. PMMT Arquitectura are a practice that has amassed a particular degree of expertise in the planning of hospitals in the first instance, a process that has also led to the architects drawing up their own catalogue of criteria for barrier-free architecture.
In the absence of any universal wisdom about accessibility, PMMT decided to study all the needs that each person has throughout their lives in the use of the built environment. The result was Clear Code Architecture®, an objective and parametric method that allows to measure the Universal Accessibility level of any built space and to design inclusive environments that can be used and lived by all people, whatever their needs and circumstances. A further fruit of their endeavors towards inclusive design is a Clear Code handle concept, specially developed by PMMT for FSB.
The architects describe their handle design FSB 1233 with AIC (anti-infection coating) thus: “Quite apart from its elegant design, this is a door handle that guarantees it can be straightforwardly used by anybody, regardless of any impairments they may have.” The Braille inscription on the back of the grip enables those of impaired vision to establish the identity of a given room with their hands. The handle’s Aluminium surface additionally boasts an anti-bacterial coating that ensures the requisite protection against infection.
Photos: © DEL RIO BANI