Portsmouth architect wins competition to design research hospital in Pisa

The planned exterior of the new institute building. Picture: Stella Maris Foundation
The planned exterior of the new institute building. Picture: Stella Maris Foundation
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  • Dr Alessandro Melis has designed a new research hospital to be built in Pisa
  • Hospital will help research and treat conditions of the nervous system
  • Construction on the new building is scheduled to start this summer
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A PORTSMOUTH architect has won an international competition to design a new research hospital treating children with autism in Italy.

The building, by Dr Alessandro Melis, will form part of the Stella Maris Institute in Pisa and focus on treating conditions of the nervous system.

The planned interior of the new institute building. Picture: Stella Maris Foundation

The planned interior of the new institute building. Picture: Stella Maris Foundation

Its structure is based around a ‘star’-shaped design with three wings coming out of a central core, creating three courtyards for gardens and play areas.

Dr Melis, a lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, said he wanted to design the building with disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in mind.

He said: ‘As an architect you are always aware of how people will use and inhabit a building but when you have a space that will be used for such special conditions, it was a unique challenge and required an exceptional approach.

‘I considered the most important users of this space and worked to create somewhere they would feel calm, comfortable and where they can be in touch with nature.’

I considered the most important users of this space and worked to create somewhere they [patients] would feel calm, comfortable and where they can be in touch with nature.

Dr Alessandro Melis

Each room is designed around particular colours and include natural materials ands softer texturesa compared to traditional hospital buildings.

The façade is completely transparent to maximise the amount of light entering the building.

Dr Melis won the competition with his architecture practice Heliopolis 21.

The president of Stella Maris, Giuliano Maffei, said: ‘The new structure is futuristic yet efficient, dynamic, friendly and technologically advanced, and will allow us to better carry out our work and to respond fully and speedily to the demands of the families.’

Alessandro Melis is an architect and lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Picture: Alessandro Melis

Alessandro Melis is an architect and lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Picture: Alessandro Melis

Construction on the new hospital is scheduled to start this summer.