The social charity institution Padre Rubinos headquarters

Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos en tant que Architectes.

The social charity institution Padre Rubinos was born in A Coruña nearly a century ago with a dedication to give shelter and asylum to the needy. Later it has continued growing and expanding its scope to nursery schools and the elderly. Now, Spanish architect Elsa Urquijo presents their new headquarter to us. This is one of the most important in the country in its field because it unifies a wide range of services (shelter, nursery, nursing home, etc.) in a unique architectural complex.

The design has born in a quite way of understanding architecture. The building is conceived as a shelter for the life that transcends in it, a serene space, unpretentious and to endure. The use of horizontal lines arises from the search for peace and relaxation creating a sequence of measured and ordered spaces.

It is an architectural space that revolves around those individuals in need, the academic composition of the facade and featuring a portico at the entrance that surrounds and defines a square, open to the city. They re-assume the concept of cloister attuned to the religious character and social work of the institution. The idea of a patio is repeated throughout the architectural complex as focal point of the different spaces seeking to strengthen the clarity, light and visual continuity between interior and exterior. Different volumes fit the morphology of the terrain so that both ground floor and the upper floors maintain direct external communication.

The nursing home for the elderly occupies the most extensive use of the complex. At the ground floor are the common areas like living rooms, professional offices, therapy rooms, etc. while at the upper two floors private areas are located linked to the bedrooms.

Special care has been taken in the use of materials that meet the requirements for a building of these characteristics: high quality, strength, durability, ecology (we use a kind of floor which catalyze the carbon dioxide as leafs in the forest do). Meanwhile giving humanity, serenity and warmth to the interior (warm soil, wood texture, natural fabrics, etc.)

The nursery school is set on a single floor. The clarity and spatial continuity between the classrooms allow for a versatile use of the same. A visual and symbolic relationship to the common areas of the nursing home is also sought after so that both generations can relate and bond.

The homeless shelter is divided into 3 different uses: accommodation, dining and a center of ongoing social care to be carried out mainly on the ground floor and the upper floor reserved for the rooms. The access to the homeless shelter goes back to the concept of an open space whose portico gives a human scale and protects the visitor.

Besides these basic uses, the complex also includes a residence for the sisters. They manage the homeless shelter, headquarters for the institution and area representative with an assembly hall and a chapel which is a symbol and an attraction within the complex.

Their presence is evidenced by clearly recognizable elements as the bell tower and the entrance with orderly and serene architecture.

The entrance is through a secluded and warm space arriving to a magnified space which enhances the symbolism of the place. This in turn embraces us by the horizontal line of the wooden plinth which returns it to a human scale.

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by Sancal
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