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Looking at the Parallel Plane

By Joana Peres, Project Director and Architect

There are many situations in which we encounter what is above us. When we seek something transcendent. Where we seek rest. When our vision is lost for not understanding the limit. When the expected human position changes to expose the ceiling, its configuration gains importance. The plane parallel to the floor in a building is finite. However, it can contain elements that change its contained geometry. A patient’s position in a hospital is often confronted with the ceiling. What plane do we need when fragility is imposed on us? What elements alter our perception of ourselves? In this context, we explore hypotheses that, without neglecting all the necessary installations for the proper functioning of the space, involve the observer in something more. The comfort that the space induces is an inseparable factor for enhancing the act of care.

The Cone

In a space designed to accommodate patients needing primary care and where the level of hygiene is high, such as an intermediate care unit, the solution must ensure tightness between coverings. The cone emerges as a sealed volume capable of altering the limit. By introducing concavities above the plane where patients lie in the form of cones, we understand that vision is mutable. Shadows change with the natural light present throughout the day. A light fixture was introduced at the top of the cone, which can be operated by the patient, allowing them to take control of their space during recovery, enhancing movements. The light creates a play of shadows that can be both calming and stimulating, depending on the induced intensity. Indirect artificial lighting, not merely “clinical,” introduces intimacy to the space, bringing it closer to the comfort of a home. The color of the cone’s surface is yellow, an energetic color distinct from the predominant white. These stimuli enhance the humanization of the space. The appropriation of senses on the scale we find ourselves in.

The Trapezoidal Parallelogram

In interior spaces, it is imperative to associate natural lighting when it is possible to include skylights. The trapezoid breaks the plane parallel to the floor. An opening that associates the vision of the sky. That draws the elements inside with the presence of sunlight. With the sound of rain. With the sound of birds. The senses awaken for those recovering, for those accompanying, for those working. The trapezoid allows awakening while protecting, through the assertive angle imposed at the top, in the opening. This opening not only allows natural light to enter but also offers a view of the outside world, which can be comforting and inspiring. Artificial lighting must complement the unmet needs. The possibility of altering the ceiling scenarios allows each occupant spatial control, enhancing individual comfort.

The Lateral Plane

Associating passageways to the exterior allows nature to enrich the journey. There are various paths in a clinical building. Traversed by those accompanying, those caring, and those being cared for. The plane parallel to the floor also opens to shadows and reflections. It also transforms and soothes the journey. The moments that differentiate, mark, and diminish fragility. When transported in a horizontal position, besides being a non-traditional way of facing others, it induces vulnerability. Calming the state of mind and boosting confidence is something nature enables. Seeing the outside and allowing it to invade the ceiling are factors that gain new dimensions in well-being.
Allowing reflection is a situation enhanced by the color white. White is the color of choice because it is inherent in numerous removable coverings. The pathways have levels of passage for very important agents. Below the ceiling, people circulate; above the ceiling, installations circulate. White is not only associated with vision or the visible cleanliness but also with the whole (white as the combination of all colors, ceiling as the combination of installations). Maintenance and durability are fundamental aspects. The solution must not overlook the passage of occupants, but also ensure it remains effective and safe over time. It is an investment in the quality of care and the comfort of the hospital environment. The elements that compose the ceiling and how they interact with the occupants of the spaces allow for environments that not only facilitate recovery but also improve emotional and spiritual well-being. Besides hiding the essential functioning necessary for healing, the ceiling can associate distinct stimuli.

There will be more forms. These were chosen for this analysis. And we always seek more.

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