Criteria such as universal accessibility and parametric design consolidate the Manta Hospital, the third healthcare center designed by PMMT Architecture in Ecuador. This new building is one of the most advanced buildings in the healthcare sector. The Manta Hospital was built accordingly to the parameters settled for the “Fluid Hospital”, a typology created by PMMT Architecture whose conceptualization and design are the result of a standardized method that starts with an in-depth analysis of the metric that defines the building, enabling an important time reduction fort the design, construction, equipment and commissioning processes.
The new Manta Hospital, located in the coast of Ecuador, is the third healthcare center that PMMT Architecture, based in Barcelona and Madrid, has built in this country. With more than 24.000 m2, it offers its services to 200.000 inhabitants of the city of Manta and has become a benchmark hospital, thanks to three main features: its universal accessibility measures, that make it absolutely inclusive; the hyperflexibility achieved by its the parametric design system; and the earthquake-resistant structure and façade. These aspects make it one of the most innovative hospitals at an international level.
In 2016, the province of Manabí suffered a devastating earthquake that completely destroyed the former Manta hospital. Given this context, the construction of the new equipment was needed as soon as possible. Therefore, it was decided to build a new health center following the parameters of the “Fluid Hospital”, a methodology created and developed by PMMT Architecture. Previously PMMT had already designed and built two other hospitals in Ecuador in the cities of Machala (2016) and Puyo (2013). Both buildings were also a response to the need of being built in record time - less than a year from the beginning to the end of construction - and with a tight budget.
Such working methodology consists in defining those parameters which, correctly combined, guarantee the good functioning of the healthcare building as well as its adaptation to future changes: this involves parametrizing the organization and location of the corridors according to their use (public, private, maintenance, supplies…), the metrics of the layout and blocks, the modulation of the façade, the strategies for future extension, vehicular access, location of the installation galleries and other regulations that are vital for the beginning of the construction works.
The Manta Hospital incorporates a structure capable of resisting to earthquakes with standards that exceed the public regulations: the façade was designed to minimize damages that can hurt people or stop the functioning of the hospital. An articular system was implemented so that all the efforts that occur in the structure are not transmitted to the façade nor the carpentry, and are absorbed thanks to a spring system that guarantees flexibility between the different elements. Also, the use of polycarbonate has resulted in a light and high-performance façade, able to withstand an earthquake through joint technology.
On a formal level, the white color that defines the skin of the entire building stands out in contrast to the chromatism of the local architecture. In addition, the orthogonal image of the plot orders the spaces on the floor: the hospital is distributed in wide general circulation corridors and open waiting areas. The different accesses emphasize its implementation and allow to enjoy four facades oriented in a Cartesian way. The building, with the shape of a large horizontal prism perforated by patios, is a modular, extroverted, moldable, fluid, flexible, interchangeable, polycentric, sectorized and functional space. Thanks to the innovative methodology called “Fluid Hospital”, the Manta Hospital has recently been awarded with a mention at the BBConstrumat 2019, among other recognitions. The award is a recognition of PMMT’s commitment to innovative constructive parameters always thought to be at the service of people.
ARCHITECTONIC KEYS OF THE MANTA HOSPITAL
Modular. From a construction point of view, it uses a single 7x7 m basic module, which is articulated according to the level of access to the different services, placing from bottom to top the most restricted areas, the ambivalent areas, and the public ones. These areas are connected perpendicularly by wide “covered streets”. Likewise, there is a large exterior promenade which runs perpendicularly to the north entrance, and that picks up staff/patients from their respective car parks. The rest of the site is landscaped using the same scheme as the built area.
Extroverted. Open to light through large windows and interior patios, the façades are treated as a barrier to the hostile conditions of the surroundings (roads, climatology...), closed to east and west, and opened to the more favorable north and south, allowing optimum ventilation.
Manageable. The corridors gain width in order to form the waiting areas, passage areas, connection areas, patios... blurring the division between circulation areas and working areas.
Typological flexibility. The extreme parameterization of all the hospital parts and systems goes one step further from a flexibility point of view: the distribution of the different areas can be turned or inverted, and most of the areas can even be swapped. This versatility enables to expand the hospital through new pavilions or buildings in the future.
Interchangeable. By centering the entries at the ends of the modules, these do not interfere with future redistributions or extensions. The simple and effective scheme of the project facilitates an easy extension of the building towards south, so that any necessary modules can be added.
Polycentric. With spaces without hierarchy, with empty (waiting areas, corridors, patios...) and filled spaces (rooms, pavilions...), the building dialogues with the environment, being protected from the outside views and possible interferences through the differentiation of the pavement, the vegetation, etc.
Sectorized. Open to different schedules and functions, and with differentiated entrances: to the east, the main entrance; to the west, emergencies, provisioning, etc.
Functional. The hospital’s distribution is based on diaphanous criteria, enabling ease of access and an immediate relationship with the areas of attention and/or consultation. All the areas that have direct access for the users are placed in the west side of the building (consultations, cabinets, administrative areas, direction and user support) and the spaces with double access – public and technical - are located in the central area of the hospital (radiology, hospitalizations). The most restricted areas that have an alternative access from the outside, are located at the west (surgical block, emergencies, warehouses, kitchen, pharmacy...). Finally, the parking lot is situated next to the general access and on the side road.