Portsmouth architect wins competition to design research hospital in Pisa

A PORTSMOUTH architect has won an international competition to design a new research hospital treating children with autism in Italy.

Thursday, 20th April 2017, 9:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:01 pm
The planned exterior of the new institute building. Picture: Stella Maris Foundation

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.

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.

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

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.’

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.

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

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.’

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

The planned interior of the new institute building. Picture: Stella Maris Foundation
Alessandro Melis is an architect and lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Picture: Alessandro Melis