Maktub Center: a special design
Our aim of this extensive renovation was to provide this Pediatric Hospital with the best facilities and most advanced technology available for bone marrow transplants. In addition to the technical aspects of the building, the project's aim is to try to minimize, as much as possible, the feeling of isolation that immunosuppressed children suffer, and also, to improve the quality of the spaces built, so as to make for a more pleasant stay for both the patients and their families.
This intervention has taken the bold step of tackling the functional needs of the space by eliminating typical 'hospital' elements. To this end, we have used new materials such as Himacs, which allow for rounded corners, and avoid the need for shock protectors, and bedheads that are designed to minimize the presence of hospital equipment. The bedheads are also painted in bright colors and patterns, giving the space a more playful feel.
The unit has six rooms, all situated in the south side of the wing, overlooking the glass visitors' gallery, where family members may visit. The first step taken was to increase the size of these rooms as much as possible. To this end, the layout of the entire area was redesigned, within the boundaries imposed by the existing structure and plumbing systems. Next, our aim was to remove all visible obstacles with the outside area: a frameless window and the possibility to talk hands-free from inside minimizes the sense of isolation and distance with the outside area.
The former windowless central passage has been converted into an open and pleasant gallery on the north side of the wing, lit with natural light that passes through large windows onto an interior garden. Laundry, storage and cleaning services are now situated between this gallery and the bedrooms, into small 'rooms' in the centre of the wing, all in all making for a much-improved gallery design.
Light plays a key part in the field of ambient stimuli, via the abundant natural light that enters all the rooms through the south gallery filtered through the branches of the trees in Retiro park. Light can also be controlled by automated blinds that filter or block out light as necessary. The wing also utilizes artificial light that has been specially designed for the visual comfort of the children while still helping nurses carry out their duties. State-of-the- art SMD 5050 White Triple Chip LEDs, and an RGB system with 856 color control using a tri-LED chip system, used in chromotherapy, have also been installed in the wing.
Cutting edge technology has been used to ensure the best insulation available, both in the design of the locked zero cross circuits in each bedroom, as well as the heating control. A triple level monitored overpressure system has been fitted in each room. This system uses ultra-efficient filtration through Active Polarization, providing substantial energy conservation, as well as Photocatalysis Filters for volatile organic compounds and microorganisms, and Hepa H14 (Absolute) Filters that have been fitted into air diffusers.
Elisa Valero: The Maktub Center’s Architect
Elisa Valero Ramos, born in Ciudad Real in 1971, is the youngest University Architecture Professor in Spain. She began her professional career in Mexico, and received the Academia de España's architecture scholarship in Rome. She currently teaches at the ETSA in Granada, and has her own studio just below the Alhambra.
Her architecture projects are laboratories in which she explores out three key principles: light, urban architecture, and architecture for children. She has twice been a finalist in the Spanish Architecture Biennal, and finalist in the last FAD awards for a nursery school in el Serallo. In 2011, she was given the UMAR "Abitare il Mediterraneo" award. She is the author of several books: La materia intangible, reflexiones sobre la luz en el proyecto de arquitectura, Espacios de aprendizaje; Ocio peligroso, introducción al proyecto de arquitectura; La Universidad Laboral de Almería; Diccionario de la luz, as well as a portfolio of her completed work, 'Elisa Valero Architecture 1998 – 2008'.