Architect: MAAJ Architectes
Building Type: Medical Centre
Construction Year: 2018
Delivery year: 2020
Address 1 – street: 1 Rue Jeanne Planche 95150 TAVERNY, France
Climate zone: Marine Mild Winter, warm summer, no dry season.
Net Floor Area: 1147 m2
The Taverny health center is a project initiated and led by the city of Taverny. The city aimed to bring together a host of doctors of different specializations to combat the low numbers of these professionals away from major cities forcing the residents into long commutes for consultation and treatment.
The plan was to integrate the facility into the site that is part of the townscape bordering by a busy motorway and quiet residential areas on the other. The front of the medical facility is sheltered from the road by a small landscaped garden that paves the way to the building entrance. The building is arranged based on the needs of the doctors to provide good quality treatment and a calm environment for the patients despite its roadside proximity. The facility is separated from the activity on the adjacent street by a green wall that provides a visual and sound buffer to the people within the premises.
Referencing the skyline of Taverny, the building design follows the concept of solid and void. Although the building is regarded as a single composition, visually it gives the illusion of several buildings existing independently of each other but connected as a part of the overall landscape, achieved by the use of green spaces and staggered building heights.
The cloistered plan of the building, reminiscent of ancient architectural layouts, guides the activities inwards around a central courtyard that serves as a continuation of the internal spaces. This continuity ensures that the interior is brightly lit and offers views out into the courtyard populated by medicinal plants and herbs. The courtyard connects to the different arms of the facility visually at the higher levels and offers accessibility at ground level. The courtyard creates cross ventilation within the structure guiding a stream of fresh air into the core of the building fostering a continuity between the inside and outside of the building. Open spaces offer relief and are a breath of fresh air in otherwise dense concrete structures, making the structure appear light which is further emphasized by the application of wood as a key construction material.
The dividing walls in the interior of the building are non-structural therefore the internal spaces can be reorganized. This flexibility of design led to a versatile structure that can conform to the demands of the inhabitants and can easily be modified to cater to different practices and handle various capacities. The interiors of the building are a composition of various materials, these include glazing, white ceilings, and white balustrades of thin steel. The use of these materials helps continue the theme from the outside. The neutrality of these materials creates a calming environment for the patients and medical staff.
The building draws its inspiration from the forest by replicating its vertical qualities using wooden panels arranged vertically in series on the building façade creating a natural setting continuing from the greenery on its perimeter. Playing with the theme of green building, wood is widely used in the building structure and façade. Capped by four-sided roofs that respond to the scale of the buildings adjacent to the site blending into its context and crowning the buildings, serving as a shield against the elements and also regulating the lighting and ventilation within the structure. The four-pitched roofs are fitted with skylights and the four corners adding to the natural light from the floor to ceiling windows.
The extensive use of wood is motivated by its sustainability, durable qualities, and aesthetic value. Biophilic design is the conscious planning of buildings to incorporate elements of nature within and brings the occupants into direct contact with the green environment. Building with wood has been proven to improve the physical and mental well-being of its inhabitants. In a particular study it was attributed to stress reduction, lowered mental and physical fatigue, and decreased blood pressure and heart rate.
The design emphasizes the importance of designing a building that employed sustainability principles. This was done through the implementation of Canadian wells and heat pumps. The principle of Canadian wells also known as Provencal wells is a simple geothermal system where the air is circulated through pipes that are buried at a depth where temperatures remain almost stable. This is a great passive solution to temperature control within structures. The pipes are laid at a depth of 1.5 to 3 meters where temperature varies by a maximum of 2 degrees during the year.
The use of heat pumps is advantageous in that they transfer heat from cool spaces to warm spaces and vice versa. By working with the air in its immediate environment through heat transference as opposed to heat generation the pump serves as an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioning units.
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