This project was designed to contribute to the new humanization SUS policy. In this view, the Basic Health Unit (UBS) is a place of welcome and advice. It is much more a place to take care of than a place to heal. It does not have any kind of first aid service, surgeries or complex tests. Basically, it intended to be a continuation of the Family Health Program (PSF), where government health agents visit the houses in a specific area to assist the population. In this UBS, the great demand are vaccination campaigns, monitoring of pregnant women and dental care. From this assumption, the idea of a place that works more like a home and less a hospital was born. A place where people stay at ease and that is able to interact in other ways with the community, strengthening the holistic character of prevention and also its status of a people's right instead of charity. A place to welcome and to be welcomed. A privileged place for teaching and learning, never a minor service.
Maximizing resources: Potentializing health with green areas
The project implantation results from the adequate use of the terrain and proposes a long one-floor building integrated with a park that covers all the remaining area, giving sustainability, smaller ecological footprint and cost. The architecture is intentionally simple and efficient, leaving the stage to users, nature and community.
The overflow, by the park, of the physical limits of the building is the architectural translation of the UBS as a health and well-being promotion tool, not only as a place for cure. The green space is an extension of the concept of integral attention to health, and gives a much broader sense to the welcome and reception space.
The park permeates the waiting areas and brings small gardens inside the building, creating a gradient between protected interior waiting up to total immersion in nature. It betters all the atmosphere around the care services and works as a democratic encounter and integration zone for all its users, being professionals, patients and relatives, or people from the neighbourhood.
The dilution of waiting areas into the park means the end of queues. The space is fluid and organic, a place to stay and not only a place to wait, an ode to well-being.
The landscape design of the park is not only visual, but also functional. It is an active and indispensable member of the project. Conceived only with native species available at the site, it helps to transform the microclimate of the terrain and around, lowering temperatures and contributing to a better air quality.
The choice of a landscape design that uses local and long-lasting species like ipê, jatobá, angelim, sucupira or similar lowers implementation costs and maintenance needs, in the park as well as in the parking spaces.
Because the vegetation needs its own growing time before it can provide the aimed climatic transformation, an intermediary state is proposed, where fixed metallic parasols are spread along the areas to be shadowed by trees in the future.
These will act as space co-actors until the moment when the trees gain sufficient size for the park to work as designed, and will then be removed. The park permeates the waiting and reception areas, which are made to remain widely open during the working hours of the UBS.
Although fixed seating is provided around the internal gardens, the main idea is to use mobile chairs.
The chairs can be arranged in different ways inside the waiting spaces or even be carried outside, giving more autonomy and relaxing to users. When the UBS is closed at night or in case of strong winds, perforated metallic panels can partially or totally close the open spaces.
Although the waiting space has the necessary size under the covered area, it spreads out in the park, with decreasing seating density, making more direct and natural the relationship with the consultancy areas.
The open nature of the building, the use of cross-ventilation and the immersion in the park turn air-conditioning unnecessary. Natural light and natural ventilation gains are maximised by the large corridors and the open waiting spaces.
The cross-ventilation is done in several ways: the roof is elevated above the ceiling slabs, windows are opened on the corridors and directly linked to the open areas, which are perpendicular to dominant winds.
The metallic roof extends out of the walls lines to impeach direct sun casting on the windows and preserve interior temperature. The distribution of aluminium window frames with 1, 2 or 3 modules give variation to the facades and allow full ventilation.
The simple structure allows to adopt many building solutions: precast concrete, in-loco concrete, or simple concrete blocks masonry, without impact on the project.
The arrival to the UBS is done by a pedestrian access through the public parking space, which forms a pedestrian link from the street to the park and a shared entrance between pedestrians and cars. In the whole entrance space, the car is tolerated, but the main user is the pedestrian.
Its use by everybody opens possibilities of evolution of the patient/doctor relationship, allows encounters and open-air teaching and learning between them, or even among the workers of the UBS.
The intense use of the exterior space also makes possible a more holistic approach of health care, with the use of child parks, physical exercise equipment, or space that can be shared by the local community for activities like yoga, stretching or tai-chi-chuan.
The auditorium opens to a small exterior amphitheatre, and can have its size widened by uniting with the lateral room, which makes it usable by a bigger audience and by the local community.
Finally, turning a public building into a green community space contributes to make the project transcend the physical limits of its terrain, bettering the quality of life of all its surroundings, in the social, ecological or even security spheres. The urban and ecological benefits brought by it extend to everybody, even to people who live nearby and are not direct users of the UBS, and raise the quality of the whole region, a maximisation of the invested public money.