The Hydrotherapy Center of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Ovar is a special and socially relevant project for the region and an essential contribution to the quality of life of the citizens and the community.
The building mainly serves senior and children users of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Ovar in Portugal, but also welcomes local citizens. The goal was to design an infrastructure that could accommodate their needs, promoting the well-being through a qualified and positive space, allowing swimming lessons for children, hydrotherapy for the elderly or just a time of relaxation for all.
The architecture is pure, essential and human in its scale, promoting contact with the outside, with the sky and with the elements. Natural light is homogeneously immersed in the space through a transparent sceilling that allows the users to swim while seeing the sky. The chromatic palette, the clarity of the architectural elements and the focus on comfort, promote relaxation and well-being, in a building that is a reference in sustainability and energy performance.
The proposed solution results in a clean objective architecture object, that provides total accessibility and a straightforward use. The building is conceived in a minimal open floor plan, inspired by the modernist use of detached walls that define the ground level. These walls, that serve as support for the roof structure, are coated with ceramic tiling, making a contrast to the upper concrete roof grid. The void spaces between the walls on the ground level allow access, views and natural light.
The roof is designed as upper lid, made with a tri-dimensional orthogonal concrete grid mesh, that closes the space by lying onto the supporting walls. This mesh guarantees a flood of controlled natural light in the pool area, making it a bright and expressive space, by promoting a different ever-changing environment, depending on the hour of the day or by reflecting the weather changes. The roof grid expands over the walls, allowing protection and shading where it is needed.