The brief called for the design of a medical cosmetic centre. A clear distinction between the main functional tiers of the program was an important requirement from the outset, while bearing aspects of privacy, visibility and security in mind. Besides practical considerations, sensory awareness, especially for the spa, had to provoke an exceptional haptic experience.
While several massing options were tested on the site from the outset, the building footprint was ultimately a combination of both best urban principles and statutory requirements. The corner of Tram and Bronkhorst is celebrated as the major vertical definition in the design, with a triple volume that is expressed on the outside of the building facade. The edges of the site is landscaped as linear water features, recalling the original canal system of the city. These also act as thresholds to the site. Pedestrian entrance is along the eastern edge.
The building footprint edges onto site boundaries closely to create a defined street presence. Given the programmatic requirements for medical facilities, privacy from the street is a major design concern. Therefore, privacy is created while active edges are future enabled in the design of the northern facade. Here, a demountable screen becomes a device for creating privacy while also acting as climatic and security mechanism. Upon entering the building, the spatial experience is enhanced with verticality. A triple volume results in a dramatic entrance lobby and waiting area.
By contrast to the rectangularity of the overall design, the first floor (spa) gives way to a series of undulating walls. These create soft pockets of space on the inside of the building, enhancing the ‘spa’ feeling. Hints of this space are made on the eastern and western facades.