ParkPraxis is a unique medical clinic welcoming patients with a warm, confident interior design. Located on the outskirts of the Sankt Pölten-Land park, its surprising stainless steel facade mirrors the green surroundings, proving once again that nature and architecture go hand in hand. The medical clinic equipped with an in-house pharmacy was designed by X Architekten for Dr. Regina Fehrmann – a family physician for the residents of three small towns in southern Austria. Occupying 224 square meters, the medical practice successfully showcases a welcoming design, that has nothing to do with cold, inhumane clinics where your body might be healed, but your mind will forever remember the inhospitable environment. This totally different clinic is based on a central glass patio surrounded by offices, laboratories and waiting spaces. A tree rises in the middle of the glass enclosure only to remind patients that nature is close by and its healing power will not be overlooked. Vividly colored details and natural light compose an idyllic space, where medicine is practiced in a comforting, welcoming environment.
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic