We are delighted to announce the winner for the WAN Healthcare Award 2016 is the Social Charity Institution Padre Rubinos located in A Coruña, Spain submitted by Elsa Urquijo Architects – Congratulations! 

The winner was selected from six fantastic shortlisted projects that were chosen by our jury panel: Daniel Hajjar, Managing Principal at HOK, John Hicks, Director, Global Health at AECOM, Peter Morris, Co-founder of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and Karl Sonnenberg, Partner at ZGF Architects LLP. The judges felt that the six shortlisted projects highlighted a great variety of healthcare buildings, emphasising fantastic examples of what’s possible within this category. But for our jurors, there was one stand-out winner.

The Social Charity Institution is dedicated to give shelter and asylum to the needy which continues to grow and expand its scope to nursery schools and the elderly. Elsa Urquijo Architects conceived the construction as a shelter for the life that transcends in a serene space, unpretentious and to endure. It is an architectural space that revolves around those individuals in need. 

Elsa Urquijo Architects came up with the idea of a repeated patio throughout the architectural complex as a focal point of the different spaces, seeking to strengthen the clarity, light and visual continuity between interior and exterior. Different volumes fit the morphology of the terrain so that both ground floor and the upper floors maintain direct external communication. Daniel observed: “There’s a contemplative feel and a certain confidence about this whole scheme. Firstly the plan is extremely legible, secondly the spaces are relatively simple. It’s a very elegant composition.”

The complex also includes a residence for the sisters who manage the homeless shelter. Their presence is evidenced by visibly recognisable elements such as the bell tower and the entrance with orderly and tranquil architecture. Karl recognised this, saying: “I like that the nuns put themselves next to the homeless, showing their ministry for the poor is real. The design is simple yet rich with many places to explore.  Well organised and there is very good progression and hierarchy of spaces.”  

Overall, it was the institution’s offer of social diversity which grasped the judge’s attention, Peter acknowledged: “It’s not just for one category of people and that is what I enjoy about the scheme. It’s bringing together a whole range of the community from children to elderly people, it’s like it forms as a village community, it creates those spaces of retreat but also potentially getting together in the square effectively. So that, coupled with what I enjoy about it is the simplicity and sophistication of the architecture both internally and externally, for me gives it a real strength.” John agreed, adding: “I love the foundation that it gives of the different brief for health. It extends the definition of healthcare – prevention is better than cure and whilst this has a social undertone rather than an un-socialist undertone which is about prevention, community and all the sorts of things that actually healthcare is moving towards for reasons of affordability, for reasons of a diverse society, the ‘has and the has not’, and that for me is the intriguing piece. It almost stands outside the competition, it’s starting to deal with healthcare issues that more and more of our societies will see.”

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank not only the jury, but all who entered their projects into this years’ WAN Healthcare Award.

Ella Pilkington 

WAN Administrator

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