Prathama Blood Bank at Ahmedabad for Advanced Transfusion Medicine Research Foundation (in joint venture with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation)

The program called for an edifice, which would allure people towards it, captivate them by the unique form, and once inside, awe them with the advanced techniques and components used, thereby creating a desire to revisit the facility. Advanced Transfusion Medical Research Foundation, the promoters, a not for profit charitable trust envisioned a place that would revolutionalize blood collection and component disbursal without replacement, through professional management at affordable costs.

© Matharoo Associates

Being a pioneering endeavor in the field of blood transfusion and processing, the clients also made unprecedented demands; a new building ‘type’ where the challenge was to turn a service intensive functional entity into a playful, intuitive receptacle, by removing the repulsion associated with medical facilities and transforming it into a receptive public domain.

The plan is an outcome of a rational step-by-step intervention that resulted in the basic defining lines. The rectilinear blocks of Laboratories (the Process) and Services (the Support) are placed perpendicular to each other on the two land locked sides of the plot. To shield the Process and the Support from the sun, the South & South-West Periphery (the Skin) of these blocks is pulled out resulting in a bonus Atrium space (the Void). The Skin is stretched further from the Void to accommodate within itself on to one end, the block consisting of the donor room floating on a water body and on the other end, the intuitively curved wall, housing a spiral staircase in pre cast concrete, washed in natural light as its nebulous termination. Between the two sweeping curves a natural entrance is formed and manifested through a porch.

The exterior Skin that presents an image of ‘the simple and one,’ disintegrates into sub spaces as soon as the entrance ushers one into a four-storey void. From the foyer, a person becomes visually conscious of the activities carried out. The glass wall disappears while showcasing the complete process, highlights of which, like the cold rooms, conference room and a hangout are further accentuated by protruding them out of the block.

A paradox continues. Stoic, the brutal rough wood finish concrete against the finesse of glass & steel; Rebellious, clean rectilinear Process and Support against the intuitive free curves of the Void; opaque and intimidating composition of the exterior, enclosing its transparent intimate void within. A place where construction is the only embellishment, structure its expression, the process its only display, climate buffer its primary space, light its only rendering, this building stands manifested in its intrinsic nature within and an object rooted in nature without.

As an extension to the center, two prototype mobile blood collection buses were designed and fabricated by the firm. The van with four automatic donor chairs, medical examination cubicle, furnished pantry, chemical toilet, refreshment area and lounge is constructed on a 1616 Tata chassis. The engine of which along with the six carrier air conditioners and 220 volt AC power supply generated by a 15 KVA Indkama DG have their cooling systems expressed as large gaping air scoops in an otherwise streamlined feline body.

The body is aluminum glued to galvanized iron tubular chassis. Being custom made the body panels are kept uniplaner avoiding beating of sheets while maintaining curved profiles in the overall form. With a capacity of 100 donations a day, it is envisaged that each Cattiva breed of automobile, connected to blood banks throughout the country will bring about a silent revolution where it will be considered in vogue to donate blood as against the prevailing stigma against it.