RACIBÓRZ – According to the World Health Organisation, the rate of blood donation in Poland is a third lower on average than in the rest of Europe. Whether or not the new Regional Blood Centre in Racibórz was designed with the motto ‘build it and they will come’ in mind, the building – designed by Warsaw-based FAAB – certainly strikes a uniquely symbolic presence.
Tucked inside a large city block on the edge of the town centre, the building would fade into the background were it not for its vivid, red hue. ‘Three different shades of red were chosen to create irregularity on the surface of all four elevations. The colour scheme, along with the graphic irregularities of the façade and the glossy finish on the ceramic panels represent the richness of blood,’ the architects explain.
The blood collecting unit is housed on the ground floor, with offices, medical laboratories and cooled storage rooms located behind and distributed throughout the rest of the building around a central circulation core, culminating on the third floor with two large conference rooms. All interior spaces are finished with ever-present red accents.
With rounded corners, the outer form’s slightly irregular massing combined with an extensive use of strip windows recalls a popular version of 1930s modernism. According to the architects, the smooth corners represent biology, while the rational, orthogonal plan inside represents the technology that is present within the building. Furthermore, the strip windows are divided into two belts: the lower illuminates the laboratory worktops, while the clerestory row brings natural light deep into the space.