Expansion of Hospital del Mar

Studio: Pinearq + Brullet de Luna
Authors: Albert de Pineda, Manuel Brullet, Raúl García, Alfonso de Luna, Simona Iaquinto, Jose Olagüe
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Video: Jean Craiu, Alexandra Demetriu

General aspects: The Hospital del Mar is a health center created at the end of the 19th century, modified in 1929 with the addition of two rows of pavilions, expanded with an 11-story building in 1973, and renovated in 1992 when it was designated as the hospital center of the Summer Olympic Games celebrated in Barcelona.

The new B building was opened to the public on May 2017 and completes the west façade of the entire block. It brings together scattered oncology services, and new spaces for emergency services and gynecology-obstetrics are set up. It is a building that increases the response capacity to better serve the growing population of the city. The spaces are designed so that users feel positive, with a service that feels closer and more personalized: it creates an environment that does not feel hospitable but professional.

The new building opens onto a local park with the intention of configuring it as the place of relationship between the hospital and the Barceloneta neighborhood. This intention is combined with the orientation to the West to structure a façade with large panels that serve for solar control. To the South end, the new entrance is a place of transition between the exterior and the interior, and allows the green of the park to penetrate to the center of the block.

The façade materials and the interior finishes follow the line of the buildings that shape the block: exposed concrete, glass and wood, lacquered steel and die-cut aluminum sheet, and coloured resin panels.

What opportunities can offer the opening to the civic life of a traditionally closed environment like that of a hospital? The architect role is fundamental in the process of finding the balance between public and private spaces, in order to give shape to an architecture where users do not feel invaded and, at the same time, the community can, at least in part, enjoy spaces otherwise alienated to the city.

The Hospital del Mar is a building that responds to the needs of a very vulnerable part of the population. The idea of improving the public space in this context allows us to extend the notion of healing beyond the treatment, towards a broader social program: instead of segregating the patient, we choose to invite the citizen to use the building and its public areas, to turn the act of healing into a social activity.

For the 2017 expansion of Hospital del Mar, Albert de Pineda and Manuel Brullet bet on the creation of an open and covered space that could act as a threshold between the public outdoor space and the most protected environment of the hospital, in order to facilitate a gradual transition between the two realities. The most outstanding innovation was the nature of this space, which is open to the public from outside without any filter or access limitation. This solution gives life to an environment used by patients, doctors, visitors11-story and passers-by from the seaside promenade.