REFORM AND ENLARGEMENT OF A MEDICAL OFFICE OF AZANUY, HUESCA, SPAIN
by Alejandro DEAN ALVAREZ-CASTELLANOS & Alegría COLON MUR
ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN COLLECTION AWARDS 2022
Healthcare Architecture Built
Designer / Architect:
Alejandro DEAN ALVAREZ-CASTELLANOS & Alegría COLON MUR
Alejandro DEAN ALVAREZ-CASTELLANOS (architect)
Alegría COLON MUR (architect)
The project obeys the need to reform, enlarge and give accessibility to the medical office of Azanuy, a locality of less than 200 inhabitants in the Huesca province. Its location, in small municipal premises situated in the southern end of the town hall square, above a garage whose use and access has to be retained, as well as the narrow dimensions of the plot and the impossibility of making openings in the party walls to bring light and air into the different rooms, all shape the intervention.
An internal courtyard accommodates and articulates the two parts of the intervention, that of the existing popular architecture and the proposed enlargement. While the former contains the vestibule, infirmary, pharmacy and toilet, the doctor’s consultation room extends over the garage below to complete the plot, creating a new built front towards the south that integrates into the immediate surroundings and minimises the presence of the town hall party wall towards the regional road.
The different parts of the programme are arranged longitudinally and are connected by the vestibule, which is visually extended beyond the internal courtyard, accommodating the two realities of the plot, the urban nature of the square and the surrounding rural landscape captured through the new enlargement. The need to connect this intermédiate social interaction space with the adjacent square led us to transform the ground floor of the existing building extending the intervention beyond the consultation room, arranging the different accesses to enhance the square as a meeting and reception space. The need to unify the intervention criteria, both those of the reform and those of the enlargement, adapting to the context and the available means, led us to work with loadbearing walls in thermal clay that underpin the unidirectional forgings in reinforced concrete with ceramic beam fill vault. This allowed us to ensure the material continuity while seeking to establish a certain formal continuity with the interior space that needed reforming, where each element enjoys an expression of its own and gives character to the space.
The interior features a certain formal containment and entrusts its expression mainly to the structure and the glazed ceramic cladding. This material, manages to transmit luminosity wherever it is needed, and its modulation allow us to arrange the incoming light in the vestibule and establish the rules for transforming the pre-existence towards the square without losing its function as a wall. The construction of these deep openings with locally made solid flat brick pilasters establishes a dialogue in the unremarkable exterior with the frames of the existing doors.
In contrast, the ceramic nature of the enlargement and its structure are transformed and technified in their contact with the back street in order to integrate the garage door and the window openings of the doctor’s consultation room through the same language. The material unity, the stylising of the different elements and the difference in depth between the upper and lower body mean that its presence is in harmony with the adjacent constructions.