The new provincial hospital of Menongue answers a need for providing the region of Cuando Cubango with a high-tech and modern hospital, with far-reaching services and a 2,000-bed capacity.
To do so, a modulated and functional architectural design has been proposed. The structural reticle guarantees maximum functioning flexibility. It also makes the adaptation to the continuous changes to which the health system is exposed without altering its configuration or functioning possible. It can be easily expanded thanks to the strategic disposition of the building on the terrain.
Housing for the doctors who work in the hospital are placed at the end of the parcel. They are sufficiently isolated to let the personnel rest. The disposition of the external road and the parking lots allow for easy and comfortable access to the large functional areas.
The hospital modulation makes the design of a strictly contemporary hospital possible. In order to do so, it incorporates all of the most basic attributes. By means of avoiding formal approximations, the projected building assumes the value of the relationship with the environment (as a pleasant conversation), the major attribute of autochthonous construction tradition.
The elements that shape this architecture are patios, walls, lattice, porches, views and glass. They provide a proper transition between environments through light, shadow, reflection, transparency and glazing effects.
The new hospital stems from the conceptualization of a large container (that hosts various services) decomposed through the sequential insertion of patios, the separation of circuits (technical-patients) and differentiated entrances: general, emergency, morgue, dialysis and supplies. The singularization of these accesses and circuits guarantees the unit of the complex by means of relating floors and sections, and a rich combination of roofs, transparencies and crossed views.
These conditions are derived from the use program and its functional needs. They coincide with the project strategies in the proposal of a rotund building with defined volumes. It is formalized with the site occupation and two determining criteria: a functional aim for diaphanous spaces and a bet on “segregation,” following the demands of every functional unit’s program.
The proposal works towards an innovative architectural direction. It values the singularity of the location, its expression as a result of the construction process, the solar orientation, the space materiality, etc. Traditional architecture and the street orientation are taken into account, as well as the area’s hydrography, which demands inclined roofs and conditions the space in a specific way.
The chromatism of local architecture and the color white define the skin of the building. The orthogonal image of the urban fabric orders the spaces on the floor. The autochthonous vegetation delimits the exterior urbanization. The streets are substituted by wide corridors or circulation (public and restricted) and open waiting areas.
The building settles in the land and distributes all services in the same floor. Different access points emphasize its implementation, allowing the enjoyment of four cartesian-oriented facades.
It is modulable at a constructive level by implementing a basic module of 7,00m x 6,80m. It is also functionally modulable. The edification is modulated according to the accessibility level of the different services. Thus, the most restricted areas, ambivalent and public areas are distributed from left to right. These areas are perpendicularly connected through “covered streets”.
The building is extroverted, open to light through large windows and interior patios. Facades are treated as a wall against hostile external conditions (roads, climatology, etc). They open themselves towards the most favorable orientations (north and south) and close themselves to east and west, which permits optimal ventilation. The composition of the facades is favored by its location: elevated regarding the site, it hampers vision from the exterior.
Flexible and versatile, it allows for the turning or inverting of the distribution of the areas. Thus, the general corridors’ visuals can head east or west equally, or even switch the majority of the floor’s areas. The project is “emptied” on the floor plan through the sequential insertion of patios and glazed areas. These create a singular landscape that accompanies general circulation. Versatility permits the expansion of the hospital both occasionally (by expanding modules) or globally (by adding new buildings and pavilions). As entrances are placed in the extremes of modules, it can be interchangeable without interfering in future distributions and/or expansions.
Access to the building is possible through the main road. The interior road to the parcel borders the building to facilitate vehicle circulation. It also improves access to the main entrance, emergency, goods, installations and morgue.
The interior of the building, right after access to the facility, is a structured, diaphanous and luminous space. Given the features of the building and the climatological conditions of the area, special attention has been given to the creation of transition spaces between the exterior and the interior. These are placed between and under the building to have meetings and to make citizen participation possible. They create double-height spaces (general access), porches (emergency access) and pergolas for sunlight protection (Women Institute and supplies).
The distribution of the spaces and areas follows a criterion based on diaphaneity, easy access and communication, and an immediate relationship with the attention and/or consultation area. All the direct connection spaces for the users are placed in the western modules (consultation, office, administrative areas, direction and user service). The double access spaces (technical/public) are placed in the central area of the hospital (radiology, hospitalization). The restricted spaces with alternative access from the exterior are placed in the western area (surgery wing, emergency, storage rooms, kitchen, pharmacy, etc).