The Kálida Sant Pau Centre - Barcelona - ISPLORA

The Kálida Sant Pau Centre - Barcelona


The building, designed by Benedetta Tagliabue – EMBT, is integrated in the Art Nouveau complex of Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, originally designed by architect Domènech i Montaner. Patricia Urquiola Studio signs the interior design, establishing a fruitful collaboration between the two women.

The Kálida Centre is a space of emotional, social and practical support for cancer patients and people around them.

It is a home opened to everyone, where qualified professionals offer their help. A house to meet other people, a house where to find a quiet retreat or to have a cup of tea.

The plot is located between the new hospital and the original Art Nouveau buildings. It is parallel to a new road defined by the special urban plan of the area and follows the orthogonal plan of the original project. The project includes a small 400 m2 building and a wide garden within the general green area of the building complex. The fundamental idea of the project is to plant some new coloured flowers in the garden of the original hospital, and so the centre is designed as a garden pavilion where the boundaries between interior and exterior blur and vary. The building offers privacy, light, retreat and protection around the garden.

The building is organised on two floors of about 200 m2. The ground floor is situated at a lower level than the complex around. It is conceived as a sequence of flexible spaces, opened to a garden protected by walls, pergolas and vegetation that can accommodate varied activities. In the ground floor, we can find the kitchen, a hall and a high ceiling dining room, a small library and a multipurpose room. Every room is surrounded by greenery, and the situation of the patios, trees and pergolas is meant to hide the surrounding hospital facilities and to respect the privacy of the Kálida Centre users. Here on the ground floor is the main access of the building, which has a direct connection to the oncology area of the nearby hospital through a paved area between them. This area also allows access to firefighters in cases of emergency.

The rooms on the upper floor, situated at the same height that the rest of the complex, lay around the double-height over the dining room. The façades facing the Art Nouveau buildings towards the south are more transparent but protected by wooden blinds to ensure privacy.

The building façade is a brick wall with glazed ceramic insertions, put together in a variable composition of colours and textures. The wall turns into a ceramic latticework to filter the Mediterranean sunlight, to focus the views of the environment, to provide air circulation and to protect the privacy of inner spaces.

The whole project has been inspired by the richness of materials, textures, colours, geometries, drawings and greenery of the original Hospital complex. The architect wanted to keep the full original language of Domènech i Montaner’s architecture and so it is reflected in the new gardens, the façades and the roof design.


  • Source: Mediakit Miralles Tagliabue EMBT
  • Photographer: Duccio Malagamba


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