The brief entailed the creation of compact medical suites within a leafy suburb, combining density with a well-designed open architecture. The intention is that these units might be adapted to alternative uses in the future, such as residential, if need be.
This project has been designed with two phases in mind; in total there will be eight units of which four have been built already. The units have been designed near a corner of a busy main road within a leafy suburb in Polokwane. A communal parking area forms the shared access to these units. The units are attached to each other in such a way that they create a continuous public “face” that is playfully punctuated by balconies and recessed walls within which benches are placed. These walls form part of a colourful palette that brings warmth to the exterior of the building.
The units each live out into small private courtyards. The lower level acts as the waiting room for patients, as well as doctors’ consulting rooms, while the upper floor consists of additional consulting rooms or office space. The underlying goal of the project was to create a design that adheres to the principles of public and private space in an appealing manner while keeping the budget at a minimum. Shared walls, steel roof sheeting, and tyrolean wall finishes have therefore been used to try to keep long-term maintenance costs low.
This project offers an alternative view on providing commercial uses within a neighbourhood setting, mediating between existing scales of architecture and creating public spaces within traditionally more private realms.
LIA (Limpopo Institute for Architecture) Regional Award for Architecture 2011