Would you donate blood here? / by Michelle Linden







Can you imagine signing up to donate blood, and finding yourself in a place like this?!?
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The project, The O'Porto Blood Bank by ARX is a very interesting building... not only aesthetically, but conceptually. Unlike many building types, a blood bank is a very new kind of building, with a wide variety of programmatic restrictions. Firstly, the various research stations need to be located separately in order to maintain the necessary scientific protocol. Furthermore, because this is new building typology, and the technology is advancing so fast, this highly technical interior also needs to be highly flexible in order to adapt to changes in the medical research field. To be honest, I'm impressed that ARX managed to provide such an aesthetically pleasing project for such a complex program.
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This is certainly not something I would expect to see in the US. In fact, this project reminds me of something the speakers at the Seattle AIA awards had to say while discussing jewel box architecture... so often we are all struggling to create the next Bilbao, a spectacular museum or other high budget structure that redefines a city.. the ideal project. But, wouldn't it be wonderful if we all put that same energy into creating a school or hospital or civic structure as the next Bilbao?... why couldn't the next city defining project be a commercial or institutional building that supports the local citizens?
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I'd argue that ARX has tried to do just that. They have worked within the significant constraints of a seemingly dull building type, and still they have provided a spectacular projects. The architecture, daily inhabitants, and local community are all affected and improved upon by each other. I'd love to see something similar in my neighborhood.
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