The Enero Arquitectura glossary for good healthcare architecture ii
When proposing an architectural design, the importance of universal accessibility is key in our projects. It is not only an important pillar in our healthcare architecture, but also in different types of projects where it has special relevance, such as in hotels and schools.
The principles of universal design mark this way of approaching projects and are essential from the beginning. These seven universal principles are summarised in the following points:
- A design that is useful and equitable to everyone, whatever their abilities.
- Flexible usability, by offering options in how it is used and the ability to adapt to the rhythm of the users.
- Simple and intuitive to use, by proposing an easy-to-understand design based on colours, textures, and architectural landmarks.
- Understandable information, effectively conveyed to the user.
- Error tolerance, using design to minimise risks and adverse consequences of unintended or accidental actions.
- Minimal physical effort, with comfortable and efficient architecture that minimises unnecessary fatigue.
- Appropriate dimensions, by considering the size and layout of spaces to facilitate approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user’s mobility.
In addition to these concepts, we propose healthcare architecture with a clear composition, marked by the importance of the routes and the distribution of spaces to reduce travel time. This helps the orientation of users within each of ENERO Arquitectura’s projects.
The importance we give to universal accessibility has earned us the recognition of the ONCE Foundation in some of our projects, such as the Quironsalud Valle del Henares Hospital in Torrejón de Ardoz and the Quironsalud Valle de Henares Medical Centre.
Universal accessibility is present not only in our healthcare projects but also in our hotels. In the complete remodelling of the Hotel Cala Tarida in Ibiza, one of the main objectives was to adapt the space to the needs of people not only in the rooms but also in the common areas. A friendly, modern, and functional atmosphere was created.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), biosecurity is a strategic and integrated approach to analysing and managing risks relevant to the lives and health of humans, animals, and plants and the associated risks to the environment. It is based on the recognition of critical links between sectors and the potential for threats to move within and between sectors with system-wide consequences.
We have incorporated biosecurity into the ENERO Arquitectura glossary as a fundamental concept for dealing with biocontainment spaces. We focus on the efficiency of facilities and the strategic distribution of circulation zones, which allows us to achieve an adequate separation between “clean” and “dirty” spaces. This segregation is crucial in maintaining a safe and controlled environment, where the risks of contamination are minimised, and the well-being of the people involved is ensured.
The recently approved project for the NCB3 animal-housing building for the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Algete, belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food serves as an example of the design of a biocontainment facility. At ENERO Arquitectura, when we discuss biosafety, we refer to a highly specialised architecture in a sector that demands multidisciplinary work with specific knowledge, high specialisation, and the use of innovative technology and materials.
ENERO Arquitectura has been able to bring efficiency not only to its projects but also to its processes and its own structure. Accompanying the client from the very beginning of the project and as they pass through each of our multidisciplinary departments, helps in all phases. We support the client from conception to construction management, including economic management.
This way of thinking about efficiency has taught us that good healthcare architecture must be functional, with efficient circulation zones to support the daily flows of a healthcare facility. In the Quironsalud Valle del Henares Hospital, the main north-south layout is complemented with east-west corridors connecting the various functional units, both horizontally and vertically, providing efficient circulation zones for the different types of flows (public, internal, and supplies) that a healthcare centre has to manage on a daily basis.
Another key factor in achieving efficiency in our projects is our commitment to industrialisation as a strategy for reducing construction times and indirect costs. This concept served as a starting point in the development of the Valle de Henares Medical Centre. We started from a highly efficient system that incorporated industrialised elements in the construction of façades, whose main advantages reduced construction times and exhaustive quality control throughout the building process, promoting architectural quality.
In the field of healthcare, the greatest advances in the use of artificial intelligence are being made in disease detection, decision-making and cost reduction, and represent an opportunity to improve care and service in hospitals.
The introduction of artificial intelligence in architecture through digital twins, which reproduce the systems, conditions, and context of buildings, is also beginning to be applied to hospital typology. In addition, this tool makes it possible to find trends by analysing millions of data elements, enabling the optimisation of the processes that are present in a hospital building.
It will undoubtedly be one of the key principles to be included in the architecture of the 21st century and will play a fundamental role in the efficient design of the structures and networks that make up each of our projects, helping us to continue to propose cutting-edge healthcare architecture.