Health Center in Cascais mixes dramatic architecture with functional design

Cascais Alcabideche is situated in an area between a number of residential neighbourhoods and unspoilt urban developments. Recently, the location has seen the emergence of a new residential area and the development of Casaia Alcabedeche has had to take into account not only the new, increasingly urbanised environment, but the difficult terrain characteristics of the plot. Three architects worked in collaboration on this project - André Espinho, Elsa Rebelo and José Pignatelli; their intention was to design a building of unique architectural character which was attractive to the public whilst remaining easily identifiable by users.

The building is composed of two floors arranged in several separate volumes, surrounded by an outer container which unifies the whole structure. An internal void runs through the length of the building, covered only by the outer container, creating a singular space with double ceiling height in the centre of the structure, allowing for double entry from the North and South. One of the volumes hinges perpendicular to the main body, creating a dramatic impact on entry, which intends to present the Cascais Alcabideche ‘through a strong and recognisable image’. The modules displaced either side of this central volume, one of which is constructed as a semi-basement to take advantage of the sloping ground.

At ground floor level, the plan is structured in an ‘L’ shape to create a more private square with pedestrian access to the north and access of vehicles to the west. In this square is a parking area, which provides parking facilities for disabled parking and access for ambulances. Cascais Alcabideche has been designed for functional logic and structure of movement, ‘allowing both the user and the employee an understanding of flexibility and movement simple and fast’.

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