Hospital of Charleroi

Charleroi
Belgium

A public and pluralist university teaching hospital
Planning the contours of the public hospital of the future is effectively a reflection on a complex environment in which people, information and technologies coexist. The hospital needs to adapt to the genetic and biotechnological revolution that is underway and to “full digital”. The hospital is a place of high technology at the service of humanity, where the “treatment candidate” and “possessor of knowledge” come together. The patient is an entirely separate individual, with their intellectual, spiritual and cultural dimension; architecture is a tool that enables one to escape a reality that may sometimes be too painful. The architectural concept of the hospital should encourage the greater fostering of confidence on the part of all those involved, and considerably assist the evolution of the healing process. This premise runs right through the design and implementation of the Nouvel Hôpital Civil Marie Curie that the Art & Build Architect practice is submitting, as author of the project, for the WAN Awards, in the “Healthcare” category.

Outlines of the architectural project
The hospital is being developed on a surface area of 85,000 m2. The building is structured around level “zero”, namely the level at which the public accesses the hospital. Above this reference level, on 3 floors of hospitalisation accommodation, there are 18 wings of rooms allocated to the various departments. The levels located below level “zero” combine a medico-technical support hub of 20,000m² housing all medical intervention activities on a single level. On each level, the spaces are distributed along a longitudinal circulation axis. Consulting rooms are combined within the same volume, consisting of 6 floors, consulting rooms and hospitalisation for the same given department being always located on the same level. The lower levels constitute the “bedplate”. Given the high gradient of the site, levels -1 and -2 can be accessed directly from the periphery roadways and have natural light.

The hospital’s visual identity
Each function of the hospital is installed in an area that is clearly identifiable both on the outside and on the inside of the building. The accommodation wings extend out in “comb” formation either side of the central axis and are dressed in façades given a treatment in horizontal bands alternating lines of red clay brickwork and lines of glazed, full height window frames with the additional profile of a longitudinal curved sun shield in perforated metal sheeting. The façades of the “consulting” areas are entirely covered with an openwork cladding of metal strips in variable orientations. The corridors are entirely glazed, from floor to ceiling, by curtain walls in clear glass. The floor plinth is in terracotta brickwork tiled in anthracite colour. The openings are configured in a random mode. On the inside, the different areas are identified by 7 bright colours applied selectively at key locations in the patients’ and visitors’ routes around the building.

Functionality
Art & Build has paid special attention to the functionality of this new general hospital. A highly equipped medico-technical hub combines on the same floor: A&E, ITU, radiology and the operating theatre block. In the same way, departments with a functional link are grouped together by functional hub. A mother and child level for example, accommodates paediatrics, neonatal intensive care, maternity and a delivery unit. The circuits used by hospitalised patients, ambulatory patients and visitors are kept strictly separate.

Patient and staff facilities
Nearly 40% of rooms are private (non-ward beds) and are equipped with every commodity. Access to natural light is an element that contributes significantly to patient comfort, as is the choice of temperature regulation system in the rooms, of active ceilings, and of modern sound insulation materials. In the design of the internal fittings and décor, the choice of neutral tones confers upon the areas covered a sense of gentleness, simplicity and a feeling of calmness.
Attention to the comfort of staff that has been translated into built features can be found in the rest areas, changing rooms, and reception areas, where the natural light is omnipresent. The parts of the premises reserved for staff are differentiated according to a specific colour coding, which is very distinct from that which is applied to patients and visitors.

Natural light, a source of well-being
The subdivision of the building and the significant development of the façade arising from this enables access to natural light in work areas, bed spaces and corridors, for the well-being of patients, visitors and staff.

Signage, an environmental point of reference and source of evasion
The concept of signage has been widely extended and appears more as a graphical accompaniment for the visitor or patient in their movements around the building. In this way the project’s owner has sought to provide significant autonomy for the visitor, avoiding the need for constant reference to an information department for people finding their way around the hospital.

Programme
Surface area (floor space / excluding car parks): 85,000 m2
Ground floor
Reception / Admissions / Social services / Day surgery admissions
High volume outpatients
Levels +1, +2 and +3
19 treatment units distributed over 8 hospitalisation wings
Level -1 – Medical-technical hub
Operating theatre block / A&E / Medical imaging / Dialysis /
Coronary treatment / Nuclear medicine / Intensive care
Level -2
Logistics / Clinical biology laboratories / Pharmacy / Car parks
Level -3
Staff changing rooms / Sports hall / Car parks

Full architectural design services were undertaken in collaboration with Greisch and M&R Engineering.

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