Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital in Vigo // Luis Vidal + arquitectos (LVA)


The new Álvaro Cunqueiro Public Hospital in Vigo is a project of luis vidal + arquitectos (LVA), a Madrid studio that, in its 11-year history, has positioned itself as one of the national and international reference point in the world of architecture. This recognition has been achieved, among many other factors, thanks to his work in various airport projects such as Heathrow Terminal 2, Zaragoza airport, or Barajas T4, for which Luis Vidal was Director of Architecture. From the experience acquired in these works, his philosophy of “Airport Hospitals” was born, applied in a new generation of health centres based on a rapid adaptation of the building to different scenarios, the study of individual circulation flows, intuitive orientation or environmental responsibility. The Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital is an example of all this, so is the Infanta Leonor Hospital in Madrid or the Can Misses Hospital in Ibiza.

Located in the Beade district, in the southern area of ​​Vigo, the Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital is one of the largest in Europe with a total constructed area of ​​more than 280,000 m². CORTIZO, the Spanish leader in the design of aluminium systems for architecture, was chosen by luis vidal+arquitectos to provide solutions in the field of cladding. The R&D and Architecture and Engineering departments of the Galician company collaborated with the studio to provide the appropriate technical assistance to the project's needs: a cutting edge, technological and avant-garde hospital.

Modular construction and building flexibility in a patient oriented hospital design

Luis Vidal proposed the hospital centre aiming to achieve the greatest possible well-being in patients, adapting it to their and their companions' needs. To achieve this, the Madrid studio opted for a simple legibility of the building and the space, with clear and well-organized routes with which to facilitate the orientation of the users. The presence of natural light and the views to the outside are factors that help create a pleasant and comfortable environment, contributing to the humanization of the building and reducing the stress associated with hospitalization. Luis Vidal makes use of a "curative architecture" wich gives priority to users and their well-being and recovery, as opposed to the hospitals of massive dimensions prevailing during the 20th century. Light, colors, materials, textures, acoustics or space are elements that take centre stage in his projects. This commitment to color is visible in this new hospital in Vigo. Prismatic paint characterized by the change in color tone depending on the light and the viewing angle has been used. Thereby breaking the building's monotony, masking itself chameleonically with its surroundings

The Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital structure originates from a central column that connects the various vertical modules that comprise it. Thus creating an building organized, basically, in three large areas: an area for outpatient offices, a hospitalization area and a technical block. All of them with independent and differentiated accesses.


In turn, the project was planned on 8 floors with well-defined functions. The main entrance is located on Floor 0 through a large distribution hall. In this floor there are also several teaching areas, administrative offices, non-sanitary work areas and a garden located on the outpatient area, located just on the floor below. On the first floor, destined for hospitalization, the sails that characterize the centre begin, inspired by the sails of a ship. If we ascend to the second level, the hospitalization zones continue and the Research, Rehabilitation and Development areas are located. The ER is located on the third floor, with the fourth reserved for the technical area of ​​the hospital, the surgical block, the critical care units, newborns and more hospitalization spaces. Basements 2 and 3 are for parking.

It should be noted that this health centre has been designed with constructive flexibility that would allow it to grow from the central column to the outside, by adding pavilions or by vertical growth, should new needs arise.

Maximum interior luminosity with energy efficient enclosures


En su apuesta por otorgar gran protagonismo a la luz natural, en luis vidal + arquitectos optaron por la utilización de sistemas de cerramiento que respondieran a esa necesidad de máxima luminosidad interior. Para ello, se decantaron por soluciones como la fachada TPH 52 de CORTIZO en la que se combinan la eficiencia energética y la integración con el conjunto. Este sistema ha sido instalado en los bloques de hospitalización para el cerramiento de la cara norte, en la planta 0 y en los patios interiores. Se trata de un  sistema mixto con una sección vista interior de 52 mm, máxima capacidad de acristalamiento de 44 mm y una gran zona de rotura de puente térmico. Estas características, unidas a la utilización de composiciones de vidrio de grandes espesores y energéticamente eficientes, le aseguran unas excelentes prestaciones térmicas y acústicas. Además, este muro cortina mantiene el binomio presor-tapeta en las juntas horizontales mientras que en sus aristas verticales se fija mediante las grapas y el perfil en U. Presenta diversas posibilidades de tapeta: en forma de H, elíptica y rectangular.
En los módulos que constituyen la espina central y el área de docencia del Hospital también se ha utilizado la fachada TPH 52. Sin embargo, en este caso el Departamento de Ingeniería y Arquitectura de CORTIZO ha diseñado una solución ad hoc para fijar mecánicamente el vidrio en vertical mediante un perfil de aluminio con forma de omega.

CORTIZO's TPH 52 façade is made up of a base system with an ample range of mullions and transoms, which has made it possible to respond to the different aesthetic and constructive needs of the project. The mullions and transoms are flush and at different levels that allow flush mullions and transoms for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level, along with pipettes andcontinuation parts, guarantee total watertightness, drainage and water evacuation of the enclosure. The maximum performance of this curtain wall is guaranteed by the excellent results achieved in the AEV test benches, obtaining the CWCT Certification according to the British Regulations.

Another of the solutions chosen by luis vidal + arquitectos for the enclosure of the Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital has been the CORTIZO COR 70 Hidden Sash CC16 RPT window system, installed in the hospitalization, teaching and technical block areas. With its 70 mm exposed section profiling and a maximum glazing area that can reach 85% glass of the total window, optimal use of natural light is ensured. The design of the COR 70 HO CC16 window makes it possible to keep the sash hidden from the outside, making it impossible to distinguish between fixed and aperture areas. In doing so achieving perfect homogeneity with the aesthetics of the façade. We are facing a solution that combines the commitment to attractive design and maximum energy efficiency (transmittance Uw from 1.3 (W/m²K). These benefits are backed by the unbeatable classifications in AEV tests: permeability (4), watertightness ( E1500), and wind resistance (C5).

A sustainable project recognized with a BREEAM certificate® en Fase de Diseño

This project based on sustainability and energy efficiency has obtained the BREEAM® certificate in the Design Phase. The Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital becomes the first Spanish health centre to receive this distinction that endorses sustainable construction. A set of structural, energetic and architectural adaptation solutions to the environment have contributed to this, making it an efficient and environmentally friendly building.


Among the measures adopted is the production of thermal energy through biomass boilers, thus achieving a reduction in CO2 emissions. In addition, the use of landscaped roofs with native plant species, the recovery of rainwater, the architectural adaptation to the environment, the enhancement of the rural environment in which the building is integrated or the use of ecological refrigerants have contributed to achieving a efficient and environmentally friendly building.

Another of the recognitions achieved by this luis vidal + arquitectos project has been the International Award for the best health project of the future, awarded at the VIII World Congress for Design and Health held in Malaysia in 2012. The International Academy for Design and Health recognized with this award "a bold vision for future of hospitals and health services in the 21st Century.".


PROJECT: Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital in Vigo

LOCATION: Vigo (Pontevedra)

ARCHITECT: luis vidal + arquitectos (LVA)

LVA Partners: Marta Cumellas, Óscar Torrejón, Luis Vidal

Project coordinator: David Ávila

Project manager of drafting stage: Isabel Gil

Project manager of construction phase: Francisco Sanjuan

COLLABORATING ARCHITECTS: Jacobo Rodriguez-Losada / Vicente Fernández-Couto

CORTIZO SYSTEMS:TPH 52 Façade (ad hoc), Composite Panel, COR 70 HO CC16, COR 3500

INSTALLERS: Arteal, Carmetal, Ferga, Ventanales Caamaño, Vilares Chas

PHOTOGRAPHY: Eduardo Irago