This Health Centre is located in an urban area particularly significant in the monumental ensemble of Pamplona’s City Centre, it occupies an empty plot in one of the isles of the Navarrería - which is set over the roman trace – and limited by the streets Curia, Javier, Calderería and Compañía; being the first two parallel to the Roman Decumanus, and to the Cardo Maximo the other two. The empty plot originally belonged to the orchard of the School of the Society of Jesus, and is surrounded by some of the city’s most notable architectural examples: the convent of the Compañía (or Society of Jesus), Saint Martin Chapel with its beautiful baroque façade and the nearby late-gothic church of Saint Augustine (former Augustinians’ Convent).
The Health Centre is an integral part to the recovery of this area of the Historic City Centre since it presides over a privileged setting, aligned to Calderería Street and also to the above mentioned School of the Compañía and Chapel of Saint Martin, and also to the new Square of the Compañía. Thus, this is one of those projects of urban reconstruction which – we must confess – are the ones that interest us the most. All of this originates the creation of a series of new concatenated urban spaces, such as the small lateral square that links Calderería Street with the new Compañía Square and the main entrance of the Health Centre.
From these urban premises, the new building is configured analogically to some of the best late baroque palaces of the City Centre, such as the Zozaya, Navarro-Tafalla of Archbishop’s Palaces. This happens since we have always been in favour of an inclusive architecture, an architecture that originates and blends with its surroundings, that is courteous – quoting Luis Moya – with adjoining architectures. Therefore our ambition will be that – as soon as built – it may seem it has always been there, in that precise place.
Starting with the typological organisation of the project around a central square courtyard, the building has two main façades truly differentiated: one with a rhythmical series of openings similar to a palazzo overlooking Calderería Street, and other one forming a C-shape façade similar to a hôtel à la française presiding the Compañía Square between two tower-like volumes that embrace the main access to the Health Centre. This difference between the façades responds to the two different parts that articulate the building: one more compact and overlooking the courtyard that accomodates waiting and examination rooms, and another opened to the square that allocates the offices and other services. This disposition responds also to the difference of height between the square and the street.
The compact volumen is organised around a square courtyard – 7.50 x 7.50 sqm – that contains in its four levels examination rooms and adjoining waiting areas overlooking a central cloister. The first three are dedicated to health centre and the fourth is occupied by the Mental Health Centre. This presents a seriated and rhythmically composed elevation with a gallery in its upper floor with a wide cornice similar to the one that crowns the models that we try to evoke. The façades, entirely made of brickwork with Baztan stone in their base, confront here the beautiful gallery of superimposed brick arches added in the 19th century to the School of the Companía.
The C-shaped body contains the main access to the Health Centre, the reception, administration and archives. To crown the two tower-like volumes that flank the entrance two wooden pavilions are built to accommodate the library and doctor’s parlour; belvederes overlooking the square, the City Centre and the towers designed by Ventura Rodriguez for the cathedral; they also stress the hollow space occupied by the access, the hall and the lantern.
There are two compositive elements that stand out: the courtyard and the lantern that illuminates the entrance hall. The interior square courtyard deserves special attention within the project; not only because of its typological and organisational importance but also because of its composition. It is presented as an independent entity with its gothic-like façades with great pilasters and intermediate mullions made of Erasun marble and closed with glass thus allowing a great brightness and adequate atmosphere for the patients. One of the sides of the courtyard opens to the chapel of Saint Martin seeking sunlight. This originates a sense of surprise to those entering the building due to the great luminosity of this space in contrast to the gloomy aspect that is associated to the streets of the City Centre.
A similar surprise is achieved through the light entering the lantern that covers the entrance hall where an ascending structure of overlapping plans generates superimposed triangles separated by successive cracks of light that is crowned by a final lantern with mirrors that operates as a luminous cube. The hall reaches a height of 9 meters therefore seeming to grow upwards – with twists where light penetrates – according to the character and scale needed in such a public building. In this vestibule two glass cabinets contain the most notable archaeological pieces – roman and medieval - found on site.