A necessary social building for the elderly in the village of Blancafort and its neighboring municipalities.
name of the project: Day center and Home for the elderly of Blancafort
promoter: Blancafort Town Hall
location: Blancafort, Tarragona, Spain
architect: Guillem Carrera
building engineer: Albert Pons
structure: Estudi Cuyas 38 SL
collaborators: Eva Crespo, Meritxell Anglès, Xavier Foraste
constructor: Betaconkret SA
subcontractors: Oficrea SL, Nou Concepte Interiors SL
project’s year: 2008
year end interior conditioning and entry into operation of the Day Center: 2018
end of construction: 2014
surface: 647 m2
photograph: Adrià Goula
The initial observation of the site and its surroundings led to the consideration that the future building should not just solve a program and the needs of an isolated building. It had to help to consolidate the nearest urban fabric and at the same time to create access to the village with its own personality and public character.
The volumetric layout of the building suggests the next concepts:
- Provide access to the building from Carrer Raval de Montblanc, opening part of the existing retaining wall.
- Convert the existing retaining wall into the base of the building.
- Implement the building on this base, open it to the three streets that surround the site and also open it to the tightest part of the site, where a square, a public green area and a health park will be created.
- Create a common access and communication core that will be used for the two equipments in the building: the day center and the home of elderly.
- Provide a courtyard for each of the two public equipments.
- Be a building that users will identify as the silhouette that gives character to the entrance to the village; with the intention that it perceives its implantation has done respectfully with the rest of the buildings that are part of the urban core and with the history and personality of the village.
The floor plan of the building answer to two main ideas:
- The Home of Elderly directs its main room to the near and far landscape that surrounds it, with the wish that elderly who don’t yet need any help in their daily life use the spaces of this equipment.
- The Day Center directs its main room into a larger inner courtyard. With the wish that people who need daily help have more private indoor spaces that are not so open to the outside and are more designed for a measured daily activity.
Construction materials used outside don’t require continuous maintenance. The possible perception of concrete as a cold material is balanced by the warm surfaces of wood, corten steel, stone that covers the base of the wall (which is used in several places in the same village), the vegetation areas and the health park.
The interior surfaces are designed to provide users with the warmth they need to enjoy a building designed to make the last stage of their lives more comfortable.
The building was built according to the standard of passive solar architecture. Each of the spaces of the building has the possibility of cross ventilation. All spaces have one opening to the outer facade and another to the inner courtyard.
With a view to minimizing energy demand, it was addressed from the first point of view, by creating an envelope (building skin) with a thermal thickness of minimum five layers and a thickness of 40-45 centimeters. Thermal inertia is created according to the climate which the building is located. From a second point of view, an integrated and global air conditioning system was used in the building that uses solar energy to reduce electricity consumption. At the same time, the extraction and the entry of new air takes place via a double-flow system, which ensures the extraction of contaminated air from kitchens and toilets and simultaneously collects fresh air from the outside (controlling its humidity) and insufflate it into multipurpose and administrative areas.
The materials used in the construction of this building were plane materials of natural origin and proximity with the intention that the environmental impact of the building and landscape is as low as possible.
GUILLEM CARRERA arquitecte
Guillem Carrera, Tarragona (1979), architect, studies at the Technical School of Architecture of Barcelona of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, where he is licensed in 2004.
In 2005, he opened an architecture, landscape design, interior design, restoration and rehabilitation studio.
Recently, the studio’s projects have been recognized in the Architecture Masterprize Awards (2021, 2020), Architizer A+ Awards (2021), Best Project Archilovers (2021, 2019), Dezeen Awards (2019), Smart Technology Forum (2019), Premio de Arquitectura de Ladrillo (2022) and in the Alejandro de la Sota Biennial (2021, 2009).
His achievements have been published in industry magazines, architecture books and specialized national and international web platforms, and he has been invited to give lectures at institutions and universities.
He has also participated as an external jury in critical sessions at universities and as a member of the main jury in international architecture and landscape competitions.
“The possibility of participating in two very important aspects of society such as architecture and urbanism, and in extension, the conception of buildings, spaces or habitable environments in a way that respects the places and the environment that surrounds them, and the benefits that these can contribute to people, are my motivation as an architect.”