Hermanus Community Day Centre

Gallagher Lourens Architects

This building acknowledges that as architects, one of our primary roles is to support people feeling at home and at ease in our busy, complex world. By anchoring itself firmly in the hubbub of the adjacent street life, with its informal trading and fine-grained housing, the threshold between where clinic begins and street stops is blurred. A wide verandah, with low walls and seating on the street gives way to a calm, white walled courtyard with plenty of place to sit in the sun, out of the wind. Only then do you enter the building, to be greeted by a beautiful view of the distant mountains, framed by low bagged and painted farm-like buildings and planted werf walls.

So, it is with a sense of grounded ease that you finally reach the reception desk with your medical issue. Colour is used to clearly articulate the various services such as women’s health, child health, dental care and more. The character of the reception desk is defined by the confluence of these bright colours.

The greater community of Hermanus shares the Clinic, so it would serve a cross-section of our diverse society. That the internal circulation spine continues the theme of ‘streetness’, with its stone floor and low window seats, is a constant reminder of the common, shared nature of the facility.

The main waiting area with its high ceiling tilting up to allow the north sun in, feels more like a public square than a clinic waiting room. No hushed voices and worried faces in this place.

In contrast to the bubbly nature of the main waiting area, the smaller waiting rooms have an intimate, contained feel. Although tilted ceilings gathering in north sun remains the marker of these as shared place.

It is a very fine public building that the architects, clients and community can be proud of.