Manuel Ocaña

Centro Geriátrico Santa Rita, Ciutadella, Menorca

photos: Miguel de Guzmán . plataformaarquitectura

Geriatric centres should be optimistic places appealing to live in

Los centros geriátricos deberían ser lugares optimistas, donde se

or to visit. The idea is to create a characteristic atmosphere in a
quiera vivir o ir a ellos. Proponemos crear un ambiente característico
vital space where spare time prevails and where residents spend
en el espacio vital donde predomina el tiempo libre y donde los usuarios
the last years or months of their lives.
pasaran los próximos, y últimos, años ó meses de su vida.

The first condition is to get a building of 6000 m2, plus 6000 m2
La primera condición es conseguir un edificio de 6000 m2, más 6000
of gardens, with the same budget of that one of 3000 m2 required
m2 de jardines, por el mismo precio que ese de 3000 m2 que exigían las
in the bases of the competition back in 2002.

bases del concurso en 2002.

The fact is that it is possible to build a geriatric centre that does not
Se puede construir un centro geriátrico que no parezca un hospital,
look like a hospital, with neither corridors nor architectural barriers
sin pasillos, sin barreras arquitectónicas, en una sola planta. En el que
and on a single floor, in which all the rooms have direct access from
todas las habitaciones tengan acceso directo desde, y hacia, un gran
(and towards) a garden that, as a sort of ‘lobby’, acts also as direct
jardín-lobby. Además de acceso directo hacia, y desde, las zonas comunes
access towards (and from) the collective spaces.






The aim is to ensure total accessibility, physical autonomy, psychical
security and respect to individual privacy, facilitating access to visitors.

Between the residential area and the polygonal perimeter emerges an
open, interconnected, fluid, flat and unusual space that accommodates
at once the different program and circulation uses. Going over the
building means traversing a space with neither doors nor corridors,
establishing paths that do not necessarily entail a single solution. It
is a unique space, where it is possible going from A to B without
following necessarily the same route. But, in addition, it is a
‘polyatmospheric’ circulation space: a series of events that can
stimulate the senses and ease the disorientation and spatial tedium
that one can ‘experience’ in a geriatric centre. The signage of the roof
paintings and a colour code applied to programs and enclosures
depending on their geographical orientation are the material supplies
to this concept of “polyatmosphere”.

The synthetic enclosures are two-layer cellular polycarbonate.
The interior skin of the flat outer enclosure is designed in
accordance with its geographical orientation. The north facade
strengthens the cold light through the use of blue and greenish plastics,
whereas the south and west one favours warmer atmospheres using
yellow plastics.

The roof – a bare slab of reinforced concrete – displays orientation lines
that are the projection of the topographical surface of the quarries upon
which the foundations were laid. This allows defining three areas through
the use of three ranges of colours that include the outer adapted
restrooms, and that are also associated with the tones filtered by the
polycarbonate surfaces.

This palette of changing atmospheres, of different densities and intensities
of light, allow the user to decide “which way to go” and “where to stay”.

But the most remarkable fact is that the atmosphere of the users gets
improved from a centrifuge sense of architecture. That means an
architecture where the user is an actor and not a mere spectator. An
architecture generated from the interior avoiding intentionally its
representation in the façades (that in this case are not more than
mere enclosures), or in a supposedly more decent, trendy or
conventional architectural finishings.


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