The pharmacy is a part of a government programme whose goal is to provide prescription drugs free of charge to patients with complex pathologies (cancer, multiple sclerosis, Gaucher, AIDS, among others). It is annexed to the Adolfo Pons Hospital, one of the most important health facilities in the city of Maracaibo, Venezuela, population three million and known as the "Land of the Beloved Sun," from which much of the country's oil is extracted. The city presents pronounced socio-economic and cultural contrasts, while still conserving a portion of its indigenous population. Maracaibo has a very dry tropical forest climate, with an average recorded temperature of 33º C. It also has one of the highest rates per capita of electric energy consumption in Latin America due to the fact that the city's predominant architecture does not adapt to the climate's characteristics, resulting in excessive abuse of the systems of refrigeration, whose elevated economic and environmental costs become unsustainable with time.
With an integrated vision of the relationship between the constructed environment and climate, and while taking into account sustainability and pertinence (the building's location and position, control and optimization of resource usage, use of native vegetation, utilization of active and passive solar energy systems, optimization of comfort, building technology and traditional building materials, etc.), the Pharmacy for High Cost Medicine becomes a mechanism that generates change by optimizing the programme (bringing together administrative and medicine storage activities in order to benefit the areas of public use and incorporate the green); by strengthening the relationship between the users and their environment (greater use of natural resources - light, wind, and vegetation); by benefitting from the residual areas and urban development requirements (integrating gardens, public squares, and parking lots as areas of exchange and encounter); and, finally but no less important, by promoting sustainability as a viable strategy (for the State as the construction promoter and for the citizens as the responsible users).
The pharmacy is a building designed for public use and management, located in Venezuela, a country of abundant natural and energy resources, but with little awareness of their value. Creating awareness was our main objective, in addition to fulfilling our responsibility of providing quality urban equipment that satisfies the needs of its users (more then 600 people daily) and clients. Throughout this project, one can perceive or discern our idea of architecture as a means, not as an end in itself. It is still too early to gauge the efficiency level of the strategy applied to measure its impact, influenced directly by how it is managed and maintained, as well as by the behavior of its users. We believe that a structure whose use is that of "healing" and a place of "positive spirit" served as an opportunity to draw people towards what is natural, towards a common use and caring, perhaps resulting in more favorable behaviours.