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Medical Centre Die Wilgers
South Africa
An extremely tight budget, along with a narrow site, were some of the challenges for this small pavilion design. The site faces onto a sea of parking to its immediate north (belonging to the Wilgers Hospital), with residential buildings along all remaining sides. The massing and placement on site were determined by the balance between the extremely tight budget, FAR and said parking regulations respectively, followed by the rest of the opposing forces described above. The adjacent property is owned by the client, and had to be considered for future demolition and expansion. The medical pavilion was positioned to edge tightly along the northern boundary of the site, with cars tucked away neatly behind. A double volume defines the entrance, dramatically framed with the corner articulation that responds to its ambition of becoming a small landmark. The pavilion takes cues from the architectural history of Pretoria. Envisioned as a stoep with a pergola to its north, the consulting rooms are placed at the centre of a constrained envelope. The exterior is bagged and painted white (another nod at local traditions), with a smooth interior finish. Local materials were used as far as possible, with furniture pieces hailing the city figure-ground, whilst responding to the notions of ethics of medical practice rather than simply aesthetics. As such, an environment that embodies an embracing, warm and therapeutic sensibility underpinned all decisions in the choice of careful detailing. An urban roof garden, again hailing the distant urban history, creates a small sanctuary. A carefully considered screen that will ultimately become a green screen softens the proximity to road and parking lot onto which the building faces, whilst binding the northern façade. It also mitigates the climate of the interior of the building, along with sliding screens that were again the result of a meticulous design process.
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