Santa Rita Geriatric Center / Manuel Ocaña

Architect: Manuel Ocaña
Location: Ciutadella, Illes Baleares,
Competition team: Christian Fink, Benjamin Scharf, Celia López, Laura Rojo
Project team: Fermina Garrido, Elisa Fernández, Malgosia Czaban
Construction team: Maja Frackowiatz, Michael Rabold, Víctor Navarro, Roberto González, Sebastian Dillner
Services: Juan Travesí
Landscaping: Teresa Galí
Structure Engineer: J.M. Churtichaga
Technical Architect: Joan Camps
Promotor: Consell Insular de Menorca
Contractor: OHL
Budget: $5.200.000 € (garden included)  - $868€/sqm
Area: 5.990 sqm building + 6.200 sqm gardens
Project year: 2002-2003
Construction year: 2004-2009
Photographs: Miguel de Guzmán


Geriatric centers should be optimistic places appealing to live in or to visit. The idea is to create a characteristic atmosphere in a vital space where spare time prevails and where residents spend the last years or months of their lives. The fact is that it is possible to build a geriatric center that does not look like a hospital, with neither corridors nor architectural barriers and on a single floor, in which all the rooms have direct access from (and towards) a garden that, as a sort of ‘lobby’, acts also as direct 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 whole building means traversing a space with neither doors nor corridors, establishing paths that do not necessarily entail a single solution. 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 center. The synthetic enclosures of two-layer cellular polycarbonate also contribute by designing the interior skin of the flat outer enclosure 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 favors warmer atmospheres using yellow plastics.

exploted axo

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 to define three areas through the use of three ranges of colors 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”.

Cite: "Santa Rita Geriatric Center / Manuel Ocaña" 15 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • 2MACoff

    трасса формулы 1…

  • Opium

    very effective…guess the old men who end up here will die in only a couple of months…

  • otis

    actually very calming and dreamy. i’d be ok with dying there!

  • imagine

    white…color of death
    green…color of life

  • galaxian

    It’s absolutely great! (Maybe more colours, should be…)

  • tk

    the scale of the public spaces is too big and the materials are too harsh. the concrete, steel and neon lights are industrial and insensitive. also, the plastic and translucent glass would not be comforting to anyone, much less the elderly. the concept for spaces to be hinged by a garden is great, but the magic was definitely lost in the execution.

  • rodney

    well executed.
    I would like to visit this place to see if it lives up to the photos.

  • aa4

    when i first saw the headline i got excited.. typically all of the geriatric places i have seen are deadly sterile and “old” and i was hoping this one would address this in a modern way..
    well, while i don’t mind the openness of the spaces and the exterior spaces are quite good, some of the “industrial” looking style of the interiors really kills the project i think. keep in mind that people have to live here and often go through a major psychological breakdown when they move into a home that is not their own.. i have seen it with my own family. contemporary modern architecture doesn’t have to be so cold! we can handle it because we are young and we get to see the rest of the world every day but these people (depending on their condition)often never leave these premises! I don’t know, maybe it just hasn’t been lived in long enough, but the interiors are just too cold.

  • TomC

    very very good…..
    looks like niemeyer of the 50´s

  • mark

    far too clinical…makes me sick to my stomach. way too detached from the real world

  • Sarah Abusido

    to whom it may concern
    I need an e-mail to contact with the designer of this building.
    I am an interior designer and I am graduating this year so I need clear plans & to know how much is the whole space.
    thank you

  • Spaceman

    I don’t usually post on blogs but I found yours interesting. Keep up the good work. I’ve enjoyed reading here.

  • Tectonic Wellness

    When we grow up, we want to live here! "Santa Rita Geriatric Center" by Manuel Ocaña

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