Ábaton styles children's dormitory as row of colourful houses

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Hans Abaton styles children's dormitory at Esther Koplowitz Foundation as row of colourful houses

Gabled blocks with brightly coloured facades house bedrooms for children with Cerebral Palsy at this treatment centre in Madrid, which has been updated by local studio Hans Abaton (+ slideshow).

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

The Esther Koplowitz Foundation for children with Cerebral Palsy occupies a 1950s building in south-west Madrid. Set beside a disused military barracks, the building hadn't been renovated in more than a decade, so Hans Abaton was asked to bring the facilities up to date and increase capacity.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

A new three-storey block containing bedrooms and administration areas adjoins the building's south-east facade.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

"Due to the increasing demand for places and the fact that it was the only specialised residence in La Comunidad de Madrid, an extension with the very best conditions was necessary and addressed many shortcomings," said the architects.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

The upper floor is modelled as a row of single-storey houses and contains 10 bedrooms, each with a long panoramic window overlooking the street. The units are angled to create a serrated facade and arranged in a spectrum ranging from bright yellow through red to dark green.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

"The project offers a happy and optimistic overall image; a place which is home to the hope for improvement," said the team. "On the one hand the project is well integrated, adapting its scale to that of the neighbourhood, of small houses that surround it."

"On the other hand it gives each bedroom a unique personality thanks to a colour range that achieves unity and uniqueness at the same time."

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

The 10 bedroom suites can accommodate 20 children, while the glazed base and basement provide a new entrance and offices respectively.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

Ventilation ducts and underfloor heating means the temperature of each room can be kept stable, while vinyl siding and PVC flooring mean cleanliness is easier to maintain. Wide doors and 3.7-metre-tall ceilings are designed to be spacious enough for wheelchairs, stretchers and technical equipment.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

A 200-square-metre roof garden sits above the dormitory to provide thermal and acoustic insulation, helping to reduce the building's energy consumption.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

The Madrid firm, which was set up by Camino Alonso, Ignacio Lechón and Carlos Alonso in 1998, has a background in creating energy-efficient homes. The office previously converted a crumbling stone stable in a remote area in western Spain into a self-sufficient family home and also designed a cement-clad micro home that can be transported on the back of a flatbed lorry.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

Cacti are displayed on plinths in the foundation's glazed lobby. Here, sections of carpet are wrapped around the white columns that support the ceiling slab, softening the effect of the raw concrete, glazing and strip-lighting.

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

"The ground floor consists of a glassed-in multipurpose hall for stimulation above which are small houses where the children sleep from which they can see, and be seen," said the architect. "The intention is to highlight the presence of the building in its environment, becoming a feature in its area."

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton

A glass and concrete cube at one end of the block provides a new entrance and a visitors' room, while a basement containing utility rooms and offices features large windows that opens onto a concrete-lined patio.

Photography is by Hans Abaton.


Project credits:

Architecture: Hans Abaton
Architect in charge: Ricardo de Landaluce Arias
Architects collaborators: Víctor Conde Buezas, Naama de Miguel de Pablo, David Díaz Vizán, Laura Fringuello, Gonzalo Martín Román, Ana Martínez Santos, Juan Millán Ghisleri, Fernando Ortiz Campos, Wolney Ortiz de Oliveira, Darío Ortiz Seseña, Francisco Peláez Marín, Elías Sancho de Agustín, Javier Tavera Tolmo

Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton
Site plan – click for larger image
Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton
Basement plan – click for larger image
Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton
First floor plan – click for larger image
Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton
Roof plan – click for larger image
Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton
Sections – click for larger image
Esther Koplowitz Foundation by Hans Abaton
Sections – click for larger image