– Exterior spaces of the American Heart Institute –
Torsanlorenzo International Prize 2011
The design develops the outdoor area of a heart surgery clinic and a nearby private villa. The entire design covers different aspects, some outdoor, others inside the clinic, such as the hall or the chapel, a multi-confessional place of worship.
The design often uses typical elements of Cyprus’ landscape, culture and history that. with a process of decontextualization, transforms into main themes of peculiar spots: a hill of outstanding olive trees, a water basin and a garden of clay vessels, formerly used to store wine.
During a particularly complex building site phase, some details and minimum works had a significant role, such as the planting of some opuntias in the front of a window in the perimeter wall of the villa’s garden. These very large cacti were available locally, as they grew unnoticed in the brushwood in an unkempt part of the site.
The view from such opening, that looks out to the city beyond the olive tree hill, has therefore these typical plants in the foreground. Framed and reviewed in a slightly different context, the plants reveal a composition and give a new meaning to Cypriot landscape as well veil the view and protect the privacy of the inner court.
In the evening, the city lights can be glimpsed from the window, while the cacti, due to the upward projecting lights, are reflected on the swimming pool’s water, the glass walls and the slab of the court’s pavement with the sculptural and complex shapes of their cladodes multiplying in the garden.