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Careful thinking

The latest thinking in hospital design puts the patient’s wellbeing first and uses new layouts, colours and materials to create a caring setting.

Wilson Churchill once remarked: “First we shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us”. This is certainly true for hospitals. The role of interior design in patient wellbeing is amply documented, but what is less well known is the impact the layout has on the hospital’s operational efficiency.

Juggling patient welfare and productivity can be tricky. But several major institutions are doing just that. They have prescribed smart design and flexible master planning to create hospitals that are responsive to changing technological, clinical and economic conditions.

   Emma Children's Hospital  Maria Middelares Hospital
   St. Luke's Hospital  Corrosion resistant suspension systems
  ROCKFON MediCare 


      Healing with the world outside

      Staying connected to the outside life is an important part of any healing process, so when Delft-based OD205 Architectuur designed the comprehensive transformation of the EMMA CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL in Amsterdam they put the idea of integration at the heart of the building: Integrating the patients’ stay in the hospital with their daily lives, integrating patient care with specialised academic research and integrating the building with the surrounding city. The extensive renovation, called the Metamorphis, was planned in three phases over a ten-year period and was recently completed.

      “The ceiling helps provide
      a foreground, middle and background”

      Metamorphosis was designed as a micro city with streets, squares, playgrounds – and even a cinema – to give the children the experience of still being part of their normal environment. To create the feeling of not being in a hospital, various illustrators covered the walls in bright colours and playful Hergé comics, while large windows and untraditional building materials were used to achieve a friendly and transparent design. Using natural light as their most important architectural tool, OD205 architectuur installed a monolithic ceiling in the central corridor to maximise light reflection. Created with 2,000 m² ROCKFON Mono® Acoustic, the seamless ceiling is unique for a hospital with its impression of a filled gypsum ceiling but the fire safety and acoustic benefits of stone wool.

      Designed for flexibility, the patient rooms are all the same size for any age groups, which makes it easy to temporarily bring in a different age group if future needs should change. The hospital was designed with a strong emphasis on enabling the children to keep a normal childhood, develop their social skills and remain a part of the community. Using play as a helper for healing, the hospital wants to inspire kids to leave their rooms to interact around the life-sized football game, the interactive video walls, or in the kitchen. “It is not the intention that children should stay in their room – no, they should really get out there and explore the world,” says Architect Peter Defesche of OD205 architectuur. 

      See the reference video from Emma Children's Hospital - VIDEO TO BE UPLOADED


        A hospital for the future

        Changes in medical technology, techniques and legal requirements can quickly affect facility needs and leave even newer buildings outdated. To avoid that, EGM and LLOX architecten designed the new MARIA MIDDELARES HOSPITAL in Ghent, Belgium, to allow for structural changes in the number of rooms or the size of the 17 operation theatres. Project architect ir. Laurent Van Damme of LLOX architecten explains: “The first plans were made in 2003 but were changed many times since, as techniques and ideas about health care quickly changed. The building layout was designed to provide flexibility in future extensions and allow the hospital to evolve in line with fast-moving medical and technical developments. We wanted to avoid eventually having to build all kinds of small side buildings or little rooms on top, as that would contradict the structure and architecture.”

        The U-shaped hospital consists of three big building blocks: two parallel blocks that carry a third crosswise building block that houses the nursing units. Between the two parallel blocks a light and open two-floor atrium has been given a central place in the design, allowing all ambulatory functions to easily be reached. “Modern hospitals need to be logistically well-ordered, and horizontal circulation routes need to be short. Patients, visitors and personnel need to cover short walking distances to go from one facility to another. Vertical circulation is concentrated in one elevator area centrally placed in the atrium,” Sir. Laurent Van Damme explains. The inviting and accessible design is meant to create a ‘healing environment’ that radiates trust and rest, exemplified in the light atrium and the many patios that allow the natural light to penetrate through the building. The patient plays the central role in the open and airy building, where the majority of the 629 beds were placed in single-person bedrooms with room-height windows. This openness creates a very intense relationship with the outside environment. ir. Laurent Van Damme says: “We wanted to create the feeling of a residential health park. Laying in your bed or sitting in your chair, you are in strong contact with the landscape, the air and the sky. The panorama creates a relationship with the residential character of the environment, the nature surrounding the local creek, de Maaltebeek, and the traffic on the R4 highway.”

        “We made a conscious choice
        to create a simple look
        with easy-to-clean materials”

        To further emphasise the airy feeling in the building, the architects chose hygienic, austere materials, while coloured accents were limited to isolated pieces of furniture and the choice of curtains. In close consultation with the hospital about practical and legislative requirements, EMG and LLOX decided to outfit the 30,000 m² facility with various kinds of ROCKFON MediCare stone wool tiles. “Choosing building materials for a hospital is always a balance between the need for hygiene and cleanability on the one hand and domesticity and “warmth” on the other hand. For the fixed elements, such as the ceilings, we made a conscious choice to create a simple look with easy-to-clean materials with good hygienic properties,” ir. Laurent Van Damme says. “To achieve a uniform design it is important to chose a product group with a sufficiently wide assortment of possibilities.” The large assortment within the MediCare range allowed the architects the freedom to meet different needs in different rooms – such as cleanability, demountability and air-tightness in the operation theatres – while still maintaining an overall uniformity in the building. 

        ST. LUKE'S

          Caring for the community

          Named after the patron saint of the medical profession, ST. LUKE’S HOSPITAL is one of six community hospitals in Singapore. Filling the gap between primary care and acute hospital treatment, nearly 80 percent of patients at the nearby National University Hospital who require community hospital care are admitted to St Luke’s. As the Singaporean population is both growing and rapidly ageing, the Ministry of Health developed a Masterplan to meet the increase in patients by expanding hospital capacity with 1,800 extra beds by 2020.

          As part of this plan, a construction project to expand the capacity of St. Luke’s Hospital with 48 beds – bringing its total capacity to 233 beds – was initiated in 2012. The $14 million government project includes a new seven-storey wing that will house a day rehabilitation centre, a pharmacy, an outpatient clinic and administration offices. The project is the first major expansion of the hospital since it opened in 1996, and also includes a renovation of the existing facilities.

          For this renovation, Design Architects needed building materials that would fit in with the existing expression of the hospital and hold up to the hot and humid Singaporean climate. In consultation with general contractors, TMG Projects, and ROCKFON distributor, Welmate, it was decided that the dimensional stability in up to 100% humidity of the ROCKFON MediCare range was the perfect match for the ceilings in the standard wards. Made from stone wool, the MediCare range resists bacterial growth and is available with a wide assortment of edge types. The common areas were outfitted with ROCKFON Pacific tiles, which offer the same humidity resistance and look at a competitive price point.

          Corrosion resistant suspension systems

          Erik van Bouwel, ROCKFON
          Group Certification and
          Technical Data Manager
          of Grids and Accessories
          Certain environments call for higher performance suspension systems than what is offered by standard grids. These environments are typically characterised by high humidity and temperature, for instance in swimming pools or washing areas and medical applications, or may have high hygiene requirements, as is the case in hospitals and health clinics. In those cases corrosion of metal parts can provide a hazard that should be avoided by installing suspended ceilings in enhanced corrosion resistant (ECR) grids.

          According to the product standard EN 13964, our assortment is classified in four classes of grids – A, B, C and D – with B being the standard in regular conditions such as residential buildings, schools, offices and retail. For environments that have a relative humidity higher than 90 percent and risk condensation that means Class C grids should be applied, while Class D grids should be used in aggressive atmospheres.

          Our Class C and D grids and accessories are protected on both sides with zinc, primer and polyester paint, with 100 grams of zinc per m2 for Class C and 275 grams for Class D or have another finishing with a similar performance. Class D systems provide a higher degree of protection than Class C, and need to be adapted to the specific project. This means that every time we work with a Class D grid, we evaluate the conditions and use previous experiences to make sure the system is fit for the purpose.

            ROCKFON MediCare

            Gary Madaras, ROCKFON
            Area Marketing Manager,
            Southern Europe
            Healthcare facilities have stricter requirements to building materials used, so we developed the MediCare range make the benefits of stone wool available to hospitals and other care facilities. Building on the well-known acoustic benefits, fire protection and humidity resistance of stone wool, all tiles in the MediCare range is aesthetically pleasing, easy to clean and MRSA resistant. Alle MediCare tiles are available with an A edge, while MediCare Standard and MediCare Plus tiles are also available with an E edge. Furthermore, the MediCare Plus tiles are also available with a concealed X edge.

            Knowing that different areas in health facilities have different performance needs, we developed four types of MediCare tiles. For areas with essential hygiene and cleaning requirements such as wards, administration, waiting areas and nursing offices, we developed MediCare Standard which is classified with Bacteriological Class B5 and B10. As hygiene and disinfection requirements increase – for instance in emergency rooms, delivery rooms, small surgery, radiology, laboratories and corridors – we recommend the application of MediCare Plus (Bacteriological Class C1).

            Our MediCare Air system (Bacteriological Class B1 and B5) has an airtight backing membrane and sealed edges suitable for high-risk areas, such as operating theatres, recovery rooms and intensive care, where air pressure is controlled to prevent the spread of infections. Finally, for high-risk areas where air pressure is controlled to prevent the spread of infections and where high cleanability standards are required – such as operating theatres, emergency rooms, washing facilities and intensive care – we recommend our MediCare Block system, which has fully encapsulated tiles with an air- and watertight inert film and has been classified with Bacteriological Class B1 and ISO Clean Room Class 2.

              THE BEAUTY INSIDE

              Revealing the beauty inside renovations and new builds

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