Vega Baja Hospital Courtyard

Vega Baja Hospital Courtyard

Calatayud-Navarro Arquitectos
03314 Orihuela, Alicante, Spain | View Map
Project Year


A playground for the hospital

Calatayud-Navarro Arquitectos as Architects

The intervention aims to restore the value of one of the two courtyards of the General Hospital Vega Baja de Orihuela. Specifically, it is about enabling the space of the underused yard to complement the Psychiatric Hospitalization Unit for Children and Adolescents located on the first floor.

The quality and effectiveness of the treatment that patients receive from this unit requires the incorporation of an outdoor recreation space, and to achieve this, we propose to make a direct connection of the Psychiatric Unit's dependencies with the patio level.

For this purpose, a sloping path is proposed that saves the six meters difference that exists. The development of the necessary ramp is around 90 meters, which leads us to consider the route of ascent or descent as part of the recreational space. The ramp is arranged in the perimeter of the patio, defining the central area and providing it with the necessary degree of privacy, another of the intervention requirements.

The child psychiatry unit has a terrace on the first floor that the project habilitates for the kids, and constitutes the link between said unit and the proposed ramp. From this terrace, following the descending path, the first three sections run alongside the branches of the large existing tree, and lead to a platform at mid-height on the south side of the patio, which allows its use as a solarium in the months of the year that allow it.  This platform, by its lower side, generates a shadow space suitable for use in hot months.

All the pieces of the ramp had to be introduced in the place manually, which led to the execution of the proposal through a network of square and rectangular steel tubes that support a slab based on self-supporting metal parts that are commonly used on the scaffolding.

The lateral canvas of the ramp and intermediate spaces are made by two types of canvas. Between the ramp and the Hospital facade, a microperforated PVC fabric is arranged, of the type used to wrap the scaffolding and in advertising posters, which provides the necessary privacy without tightly closing the scope of the intervention.

The factory-made prints on the fabric evoke in an abstract and deliberately naïve way the environment and natural elements of the area: Mediterranean forest, wetlands and sea.
The recessing side towards the center of the patio is protected by a braided mesh safety fabric.

The nature of the intervention, as well as the nature of its use, lead us to introduce elements that evoke and highlight its temporary and ephemeral nature. Steel structure of small section, elements from scaffolding systems… reinforce the idea of ​​added element to the existing one, a route as a light provisional scaffold that should serve to help save a life slump, as crutches do.

Project Credits
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