Creativity, functionality and environmental consideration are changing the field of healthcare architecture
Our method promotes creativity in a sector accustomed to functionality, and this blending of factors will be the main focus of 2023.
ENERO Arquitectura wrapped up 2022 with extensive projects both in Spain and abroad. It was a year of intense work, learning, and growth. The firm’s greatest annual accomplishments included the diversification of their clientele and new international commissions. As a result of the pandemic, other countries took note of the efficiency of the firm’s business model and competitiveness of its services. Additionally, possessing over 16 years of experience in a single sector has allowed the firm to stand out in global markets where knowledge is key. We wanted to review the challenges and objectives of Francisco Ortega’s firm in order to get an idea of how healthcare architecture might change in 2023 and where ENERO Arquitectura is headed.
Which projects will be center stage as we begin 2023?
We’ve become a leading firm in healthcare architecture and we believe that this proven track record will continue to yield new commissions. Furthermore, as our method promotes creativity in a sector accustomed to functionality, this blending of factors will be the main focus of 2023.
Over the years, ENERO Arquitectura has developed its own architectural language, which is making the firm’s various projects more and more recognizable. How would you define the firm’s architectural style?
Our architecture is determined by its immediate surroundings. Making patients comfortable is our primary goal and we take all corresponding factors into account: spaces that facilitate the healing process, the incorporation of nature, beauty, functionality, personalization, etc.
The ENERO Arquitectura team is carrying out an increasing number of projects in Catalunya. What is your work approach from the Barcelona office?
ENERO Arquitectura has had a presence in Catalunya since the beginning. The Catalunya General Hospital, Sagrat Cor University Hospital and Pilar Clinic are good examples of this. We’ve even decided to add an engineering department to the Barcelona office. We have a full team exclusively dedicated to recruiting and developing projects in that region, which has allowed us to duplicate our business volume in the last year. Our commitment to Catalunya is clear and we’ve got one of the firm’s best architects, Lluc Gomez, at the helm.
Your list of international projects keeps growing. Where will you be working abroad in 2023?
We’re currently working in Peru and the Ivory Coast, and are in the finalist stages in Ecuador, Chile, Senegal, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. These projects should be made public soon, at which point we’ll be able to share more information.
The firm is building up its teams with managers who are balancing not only various projects, but now new responsibilities and challenges. What is your vision for the firm’s organization this year? What will be your primary objectives?
One of the firm’s challenges is providing our team with an ideal environment in which they can develop themselves professionally and personally. To that end, we put a lot of effort into building a talent pool that can offer plenty of support to all of our projects. Our teams have creative freedom and responsibility over what they create, which is why our primary objective is that they like what they do and do it as well as possible.
What will be the biggest technical challenges this year? And the biggest design challenges?
The technology within the healthcare sector is the big catalyst for the need for remodeling or great technical challenges. Adapting this technology to the spaces, without sacrificing the human component, is one of the big challenges we face from day to day. We stand by patient-centered architecture, which is why we keep adapting spaces so that technology continues to aid in the healing process without affecting what matters most.
¿What are the most important innovations in architecture which you’d like to implement in your projects this year?
We’re very interested in sustainability and the search for new materials and systems. In this sense, we would love to be able to design the first hospital with CLT as a constructive technology, due to its flexibility, fine performance and reductions in energy consumption. In Spain it is a little-used technology and we believe that it should be implemented in the future. ENERO, as a vanguard firm, wants to lead this charge and we are convinced that 2023 will be the year in which we do it.
What external factors do you believe will have the most influence in 2023?
The dramatic events that we’ve witnessed recently have demonstrated how vulnerable we are as a species, but how strong we are as a society. This has led to an outpouring of care for both individuals and their health. I don’t know if it will happen in 2023 or 2024, but without a doubt, we are moving towards a world in which the biggest risks aren’t only economic or political, but rather much more global and for that reason, more devastating – things like climate change, human migration, etc. All of these changes will necessarily influence both the working models and the priorities of architecture.
Healthcare architecture is changing and your firm is on the forefront of these changes. What do you foresee being the biggest transformations in the coming year?
The biggest change is the introduction of digital systems in medicine. Until now, healthcare architecture has been based on buildings better or worse designed, but in concrete physical settings. The big leap that we forecast architecture going through will likely be due to the integration of virtual systems and the concept of “Uberization,” or being able to receive treatment with full guarantees from anywhere and, above all, from your smartphone. Are we ready?