Located in a popular neighborhood of the Navarrese capital, this new health center rises on an undeveloped plot which is surrounded by haphazardly scattered tall residential buildings. The program reflected a contradiction between the surface needed and the requirements which established limitations on height, alignment, and building ratio. The resulting L-shaped volume is attached to two new streets that define – along with an existing construction in the opposite angle – an interior courtyard.
From the outset the building tried to go beyond its condition of architectural piece and generate an urban order. This objective is paradoxically set forth from a distance, avoiding a direct dialogue with the immediate decontextualized panorama, translated into the external hermetism of the building, which in turn also affords greater privacy for health center occupants. The program asked for a distribution of the medical care areas in two different zones, and so each occupies one arm of the L. Access is through the common vertex and leads to the two differentiated bands, leaving the offices oriented towards the street and the internal area to the waiting rooms. The sequence of spaces, some double and triple-height, articulate the building’s section, illuminated through an interior courtyard and through the rooflights. The basement is also qualitatively suitable for offices and halls, and though it is toplit, the sunken courtyard attached to one of its external facades underscores its environmental quality; a wood latticework guarantees isolation.
The same silent yet bold character reflected by its form is displayed in the material palette. Zinc on the upper parts of the facades, placed over a wooden platform, to provide a smooth, uniform finish which establishes a dialogue with the vast glazed surfaces through a double-layer glass which incorporates a stainless sheet mesh. Glass to reflect light and create chromatic effects, and to perform as a curtain which protects the interiors from exterior glances while allowing views from the inside out. Lastly, wood counteracts the metallic reflections and highlights specific elements such as the access corner – with iroko wood planks – and the courtyard grille, constituted by freestanding pieces which are hooked up by a stainless steel rod. The interiors are kept as neutral as possible, letting the volumetric configuration of the different spaces, their section and their illumination speak for themselves.