CIfA 2019 Award for Architecture: Hillside Clinic – Gabriel Fagan Architects


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The Hillside Clinic is gentle and generous. The modest Victorian profile metal roofs with deep overhangs ‘fit in’ to the Beaufort West neighbourhood. The off-centre ridge lines, different slopes and ventilation chimneys make it the landmark it should be.

It is generous in its section, which holds the patients on comfy sun-warmed seats in winter. Low eaves provide shade from the Karoo sun in summer. The design around a series of courtyards gives the patients and staff the opportunity to connect with nature. This is surely healing for patients while making for a positive working environment for the staff.

The building is gentle on resources. The rock stores and natural ventilation system reduces the cost of heating and cooling. In summer, warm air is drawn down the chimneys and cooled in the below ground rock stores. The cooled air is pushed into the habitable spaces. In winter the cool outside air is warmed.

The walls are a generous 600mm wide rammed earth using local soil. They provide thermal mass and the local sand colour fits in as a low maintenance wall finish.

The landscaping includes traditional healing plants from the area which are photographed for wall murals used to select bright paint theme colours which assist with wayfinding in the building.

The Hillside Clinic puts the patient first and reduces environmental impact through architecture that demonstrates how a climatic response can create good form that is relevant to its context.

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