other ideas of hospital
Fuding is situated in a narrow valley close to the sea in the northern Fujian province. The site overlooks the Fuding River, which forms the civic and circulatory spine of the city.
The city has outgrown its existing health-care facilities and has elected to build a new 4000 bed comprehensive city hospital. The hospital will provide 24 hour quaternary (advanced tertiary), tertiary, and acute care. This includes: emergency services, surgery, maternity, intensive care, infectious diseases, advanced diagnostic and laboratory services, obstetric and pediatric services, teaching and research, and rehabilitation departments.
the rigid institution
Contemporary hospitals are complex programs that, by their very nature are expensive to build. They also need to change and grow rapidly in order to accommodate the continuously changing communities they serve. Consequently, even well planned and well organized buildings can struggle to accommodate shrinking budgets and an increasing rate of change and growth. They quickly become badly planned and dis-organised buildings surrounded by negative space left-over after constant change. This bad planning and dis-organisation ultimately leads to a loss of legibility, functionality, and finally, efficiency.
a flexible territory
the hospital as a landscape
This project is not a rigid institution surrounded by negative space. The entire site is seen as a landscape consisting of two elements: open space and buildings – each as important as the other. These elements explore two cultural ideas: Firstly, a landscape that protects and frames the hospital at its edges, an interface that acts as a filter between the hospital and the city. Secondly, a landscape of objects (the hospital buildings) and clear and positive outdoor spaces (outdoor rooms) between the objects. Like the buildings themselves, these outdoor rooms are placed on the main axes of the hospital and contain programs that spill out of the adjacent hospital departments and become integral parts of the architectural program.
the hospital as a city
Rather than being seen as a big building, BAU saw this hospital as a small city. Consequently, the prime focus of the project’s urban design is legibility and the capacity to absorb growth and change without losing that legibility. The clearest and most minimal urban design gesture is used to order development of the entire site. A colonnade and an arcade, based on the Cardo Maximus and Decumanus Maximus first adopted by Roman city makers, become the two clear and contradistinctive formal and spatial urban elements.
The colonnade focuses on the river to the south-east and the existing city to the north-west. It explores the ideas of rhythm and repetition and is constructed of brick. It marches across building facades and is a clearly self-contained structure. The arcade focuses on the mountain to the north-east and the lake to the south-west. It explores the idea of a roofed street, and is constructed with minimal structure and fabric. It encloses the space between buildings and has an abstracted-sky ceiling. Like users of a well designed city, these urban elements will constantly remind users of this hospital of where they are within the building and their relationship to the outside.
All other programs are placed in separate department buildings, which are then attached to one or both of these major urban elements. Importantly, these department buildings have been designed to allow for growth vertically and at least in one direction in plan.
the hospital as a machine for making you well
The department buildings are ‘machines-for-making-you-well’. The architecture is focused on being well built and durable; rational and functional planning; excellent natural light and ventilation, and minimising heat gain and heat loss.
The expression of the horizontal stacking of programs by spandrels of varying thicknesses refers to the strata evident in the excavations in the local geology. Each of the department buildings has been allocated a different colour and this colour is used to highlight the horizontal sun protection fins on the strata facades. These minimal but strong and clear gestures give the architecture an honesty and cost effectiveness.
The interior design for the hospital further engages with this strength and clarity. Firstly, the arcade and the colonnade are clearly visible as three-dimensional objects onto which the various department buildings are attached. The walls of the department buildings in these spaces are the external elevations of the building brought into the interior. The colours nominated for each of the departments become the ceiling colours and run throughout each of the buildings. At points of communication and for reasons of way-finding, this colour turns down the walls to embrace lift entrances, department entrances, and at signage.
the rational and the irrational making you well
This project will be durable, well built and cost effective.
This hospital as a city will also be able to absorb change and grow in the future to reflect the changing and growing community it serves, while remaining well planned, well organized and efficient.
However, it is not just these rational issues that have been addressed. The small scale sensory things have also been considered. The ease of use, the constant glimpses of the river, the quality of the natural light and shade, the fresh air, the indoor-outdoor spaces, the use of colour and materials, the familiar small city quality of the pubic spaces – all these irrational things, will add joy to the lives of all the users of the building – the staff, the patients, and the visitors.