A Mix of Generations: Padre Rubinos Social Centre in La Coruña
Architect: Elsa Urquijo Architects
Location: La Coruña (ES)
The Padre Rubinos Foundation harkens back to the eponymous Jesuit priest who opened a refuge for the poor in 1946. A few years later, this was followed by a day-care centre, and in 1971 a seniors’ home. A similar spatial program can be seen in the new building complex, with the difference that now a church forms the centre of the grounds and that eleven nuns live there as well. They run the homeless shelter that lies on the western side of the area and is not connected to the other functional zones. Alcohol and drug problems, as well as difficult social behaviour, make this separation necessary. The remaining functional areas – a multifunctional hall, the administration, church, seniors’ home and day-care centre – are grouped around a large central square which, like the church, is open to the public. This is where the generations mix: little children are brought to day care by their parents while sprightly old folks push their frailer grey-haired friends across the square in wheelchairs. The interaction between the different age groups and support from outside on the part of volunteer helpers form an important core of the institution.
Amancio Ortega, founder of the fashion brand Zara and one of the world’s richest men, endowed the centre. He comes from La Coruña and has immortalized himself in an extremely positive way with this project in his home town.