CO21001 Competition, Public

Nursing home and day center
Es Castell. Menorca
3.193 m2
Cristina Moll +
Laura Escandell
In collaboration with
Societat Orgànica
Carla Conill, architect

Geriatric Residence and Day Center in the former Duke’s Quarter of Crillon des Castell, Menorca

The person, his life, his biography and his memory are the central axis of the proposal. Making the experience of living in Galeria a moment of quality life, an enriching experience. With domesticity as a vehicle. Even more so in post-pandemic times, after learning of the impact of Covid-19 on buildings inhabited by the elderly.

At the same time, it makes it compatible and harmonious with the memory and the typological and constructive logic of the building. With its nature, its history and its immense heritage value, which explain the identity of Es Castell as a town, as a community, and of various moments that are important for the history and identity of the whole island. And bringing these two axes together, two important motivations: the generation of maximum permeability in the exterior and interior transition, with the two squares on either side of the building; and maximum environmental efficiency, as a fundamental value and complementary to the energy efficiency of the proposed systems.


DOMESTICS Implementation of uses in the building and heritage values

THE ROOM, THE HOUSE, UP. Maximum privacy is conceived for people and their “homes”, “their home”. That is why we are committed to the location of the room modules on the upper floors, where the personal and intimate life of each user takes place. With the rooms on the first and second floors, the optimization of the vertical circulations is achieved; and the disposition of the common modules in strategic zones that allow to optimize the resources of personnel, freeing the rigidity of the plant. Modules 1 and 2 they are located on the first floor, taking advantage of the longitudinal character of the floor, and at the same time recognizing the symmetrical condition of the building. On the second floor, Module 3 is organized, split into two perimeter towers, connecting the two parts of the module with a central corridor, under the ridge of the central body of the building that allows access to both ends of this module. A large skylight is arranged on the ridge, which floods the interior with light

COMMON SPACES AND DAY CENTER, GROUND FLOOR. Common Uses and User Support Services are located on the ground floor, relative to the courtyard and plaza. Placing customer service and worker services on the ground floor facilitates communications between workers and also generates interaction between employees throughout the day, in common areas of the dining room and living rooms in relation to the yard. Of note is the Day Center, which is also located on the ground floor, at the northern end of the building, where access, daily and continuous, will take place on level ground. In the basement there are certain service areas, such as the kitchen, connected under the dining room with a loader, laundry and facilities. The logistics unloading area, on the southern front, where the slope with respect to the street level can also function as a perfect loading and unloading dock.


Building interaction strategies
BUILDING TYPE AND SYMMETRY. The morphology of the building is used to organize these three modules. The axis of symmetry is recognized. This makes it possible to build the dormitory modules in phases, and to sectorise the building recognizing this axis.

SHARED BATHROOM AND RESPECT FOR THE BUILDING. The dominant choice is to arrange the rooms with shared bathroom, through a pre-entrance lobby, which separates from the hallway, gives access to the bathroom, a dressing area and the two grouped rooms. This situation allows the resolution of the program of the 3 proposed Modules, and minimize the stints in the pre-existing walls that define the crujía and central corridor. A paired design of individual rooms, which halves emptying and stinting operations, minimizing resources and the environmental impact of refurbishment.

MATERIALITY AND TECTONICS. Sandstone, whitewashed, and wood. Pine, seen inside, highlighting pre-existing trusses and beams. English green painted wood on the facades, as they always have been. The massiveness of the whitewashed sandstone, in central and enveloping corridors, is an attribute that is recognized and enhanced, in search of the thermal inertia it offers. And it assumes and vindicates the light, decomposed tectonics of the beam system and roof trusses. A complex that emerges and remains in sight because the rooms are understood as an independent construction box in this attic, which emerges from the central corridor on the second floor and the galleries on the façade.

THE GALLERY. The commissioned program requires, on the one hand, a certain dimensional equity of all the rooms. The windows on the facades of the building, on the other hand, are not equidistant. For this reason, a linear gallery is generated, a cushioned space between the comfort façade of the rooms and the pre-existing façade. A gallery, a semi-outdoor space. Catcher in winter, on the south-east façade, which leads to the private courtyard and the back square; refreshing in summer, on the north-west façade, pl. Esplanade.


COMMUNITY Community spaces and the relationship with outdoor spaces

A BALCONY FOR EACH USER. The gallery allows you to give each user a “balcony” in a window building. An almost outdoor space, which the post-pandemic reality has brought to the fore as a must, especially in nursing homes. The solution allows to encourage the interaction between those users who wish, avoiding their isolation, in a situation of relative intimacy. And the possibility of closing the gallery divider between pairs of rooms also allows for resident control.

THE GALLERY AND THE PATIO. On the ground floor, the gallery on the rear façade widens; It is incorporated into the 4.5 m backyard. A gallery that allows the exterior to take over part of the interior ground floor. The building is projected outwards from this transitional space, with the heavy wall and windows of the original façade. A gallery that, with double closing filters, becomes a great sensor in winter, protected by sunscreen and ventilated in summer.

THE GALLERY AND THE SQUARE. The delicate intervention of Plaça de s’Esplanada in 2010, with a plot which recognizes the abstract character of the old British courtyard, also serves to organize the rear outer space. Not only the private courtyard of the building, but also the space of the outer square, conceived as a free and green space of transition, pacified, which following this plot orders the remaining parking spaces. A plot that even reaches the gallery. A building in the middle of a plot: a building that is a scene, a façade in s’Esplanada; and, at the same time, intrigue, hinge between a space traditionally understood as a subsidiary, which qualifies.


ACCESSIBILITY Universal accessibility and user autonomy

ACCESS AND CONTROL. The program is agile and functionally clear to allow management of the building that facilitates traffic and avoids unnecessary traffic, or crossings that compromise the best functioning. The main access is through the center, with access to both elevators.

UNIVERSAL ACCESSIBILITY AND VERTICAL COMMUNICATIONS. Solutions are proposed that eliminate architectural barriers, incorporating accessible ramps and lifts adapted throughout the route, both inside and outside the building. We take advantage of the three original, reinforced stairs, which, properly sectored, meet the regulatory requirements. From the central access space on the ground floor you can reach any of the three stairs or the two elevator shafts. Thus, you can access the intimate spaces of each housing module without interfering with the others.

THE INTERIOR STREET. Indoor traffic is organized in a clear and friendly manner. Solutions that help disorient users and their families are avoided. He avoids a hospitable character of the residence, by the idea of ​​a street by which the resident walks until arriving at “house”.



ENVIRONMENTAL EFFICIENCY Passive, non-invasive solutions. Energy control

PASSIVE STRATEGIES. THERMAL INERTIA. One of the great qualities of the quarter is identified, as is the great mass of its structural, perimeter and central walls, which offer an enormous thermal inertia. Heat storage in winter and cooling in summer. As well as its basement, and the massiveness of the vaults and galleries.

PASSIVE STRATEGIES. THE SENSING DEVICES. Once this great inertia has been identified, two capture devices are introduced: the skylight system on the ridge of the central body, and the galleries on the south-east façade. The skylight system, with practicable windows, is arranged in a careful and delicate way, in order not to alter the silhouette of the ridge, historic, existing. The retreat of the closure of rooms and living rooms in the Southeast allows us to capture the winter, and create a pleasant transition space for users. And, most importantly, reduce the volume of the building to be treated or air-conditioned. Thus, the housing modules and common spaces on the ground floor are the spaces of maximum comfort and treatment for the purposes of air conditioning, and the spaces under cover, linked to the galleries, can be treated in a less demanding way: this reduces energy demand. and ecological footprint of the building.

CANADIANS. The Venturi effect of the central skylight, an open vault, linked to the inner holes of the corridors, increase the internal circulation of air.