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Criticalista: Punch and Play: Palmeritas Healthcare Center, Seville, by CHS Arquitectos


Punch and Play: Palmeritas Healthcare Center, Seville, by CHS Arquitectos

Any voyage from an airport to a city centre proves that urban peripheries the world over relate more to each other than to their very namesakes. Seville, Spain’s third largest city, is a good example of this. The moment you step beyond the beautiful historical urban core, it’s business-as-usual: cloned housing blocks, retail outlets, industrial parks, and endless traffic circles. Why, it could be the periphery of any city, were it not for the blinding sunshine and the thermometer indicating +40 º C. But then it’s the little things, as the famous line in the film Pulp Fiction goes, that mark the differences in today’s “global world”; little things such as the new Palmeritas Healthcare Centre, by Seville’s CHS Arquitectos.

Situated in the Nervión neighbourhood—best known as the home ground of the Sevilla Football Club—near the appropriately named Avenida de la Ciudad Jardín, the Palmeritas Healthcare Centre is an example of how a modest public building can make a difference in a sea of blandness, perhaps even providing a reminder of the city at the periphery of which it is located. Its exterior wall, clad in differently coloured strips of glazed brick, is punctured with hundreds of small openings that recall the screen walls of Moorish architecture, diffusing the harsh Andalusian midday sun while performing as a glowing beacon to the neighbourhood at night. This is the sort of place where politicians and planners would do well to have their peripheral vision checked.

[originally published in Mark Magazine #14]

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