HEALTH CENTRE IN LESAKA
Prix Européen d'Architecture Philippe Rotthier pour la Reconstruction de la Ville 1987
This Health Centre is located in Lesaka, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages of the Basque Country due to its vernacular and monumental architecture which wisely combines classical and popular elements procuring wide typological variations that run from the first medieval towers to the beautiful neoclassical and late-baroque palaces and public school. The building is located in the East border of the Historical City Centre, across a small stream and near important buildings such as the Carmelites' Convent built in the 18th century with its typical layout divided into two cloisters.
Thus, the Health Centre is articulated through the creation of a small square or forecourt in relation with the eclectic building of the nursing home across the street.
After a careful consideration of the surrounding buildings and the beautiful landscape which shape this place half way between rural and urban, the courtyard tradition, present in both the convent and the nursing home; linked to the clarity of the Health Centre program made us choose this same courtyard typology to articulate our building. An open courtyard with a pergola facing the square, analogous to that of the beautiful project of Gaspar de Vega for La Fresneda in El Escorial.
The courtyard provides not only a clear composition but also an inner garden with a small fountain portraying the serpent of Asclepius; the otherwise interior corridors turn into galleries around this patio, the three wings of the buildings allow the correct disposition of the neatly differentiated parts of its layout, that is: the main hall and reception, the waiting room, the medical examination rooms and other dependencies.
A tower is made to reinforce the public character of the building; on the upper floor, secluded of the complex and more private, the library. Therefore, the tower and its loggia become the characteristic element of the Health Centre, forming together with the nursing home a square that gives access to the City Centre.
Placed in the exceptional architectural setting of Lesaka, the architecture of our Health Centre tries to revisit and also enhance the same timeless elements present in the village. The chosen treatment of the building stablishes a contrast between the architecture of the courtyard, with its bases, pilasters and cornices; and the external appearance of the building, in which the wall prevails over the openings with their carefully designed carpentry based on the local tradition.