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Health Centre by SMS Arquitectos, Badies, Mallorca, Spain

SMS Arquitectos add a golden civic presence to the growing Mallorcan town of Badies. Photography by José Hevia

The Mallorcan town of Badies on the southwest coast is a typical example of featureless, large-scale 1970s planning. It has little urban character or qualities, yet despite this, its population continues to grow, putting pressure on the town’s services. SMS Arquitectos was commissioned to refurbish and extend the local health centre, adding new facilities for paediatric and administrative staff.

In a sprawling, low-rise labyrinth of streets, the aim was to make a building with a degree of civic presence that could dignify and uplift its surroundings.

The existing single-storey building is augmented by a new two-storey extension that docks neatly on to its northern end. The extended orthogonal volume is unified by a double-skinned cladding system of insulated translucent glass, wrapped in an outer layer of golden anodised aluminium. The aluminium comes in elongated Z-section profiles and is both opaque and finely perforated. Two Z-section profiles are combined to produce a V-shaped cladding element fixed vertically to the facade, like brise soleils.

Varying the configuration of the perforated and opaque profiles give the aluminium skin several different textural, rhythmic and visual qualities. The delicate gold finish ripples and glints seductively in the light, so the revitalised building begins to resemble some sort of precious casket. Yet the double-skinned, ventilated cladding system is also highly functional, designed to screen the excesses of the Balearic sun, while letting in a diffuse light to brighten the internal spaces. Construction was also considerate and carefully phased so that the health centre could keep running while work was in progress.

The jury was impressed by the technical and aesthetic subtleties of the cladding system and applauded its reinvigorating effect on both the building and its surroundings.

Architect SMS Arquitectos, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Project team Alberto Sánchez, Aina Salvà, Antonio Marqués, Cristian Alvarez, Alessandra Prijc
Technical consultants TIIS Ingenería, Fernando Purroy, Aina Bonet

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