AZ Groeninge Hospital
Kortrijk, Belgium

Brief

Despite the magnitude of the project – 31,500m² of built space on a 144,000m² site – the remit here was to design a building that blended into its park-like surroundings, with the additional aim of creating a number of emblematic architectural features within the complex. A closer reading of the brief also revealed a desire that the hospital itself possess healing properties, conveying an atmosphere of peace and serenity and so diverting attention from its real purpose: the charm of a hotel rather than the clinical feel of a hospital.

Realisation

In the end, a courtyard structure proved the most appropriate solution, a system of five interconnected blocks reducing the huge site to more human proportions. The resulting interior courtyards, each individually designed, serve as aids to orientation within the complex and counteract its anonymity. The highly flexible, use-neutral design makes it possible to accommodate changes within the hospital, while the building’s modular structure offers a readily understandable layout.

Comfort promotes wellbeing and aids recovery
With its clearly defined, generous spaces, plenty of natural light, high-quality materials and clear sightlines between interior and exterior, the structure’s architectural quality engenders a feeling of everyday normality and wellbeing. Even the uniform design of the facade, intimating both load and support, can be read as a metaphor for a building in which the burden of illness is lightened by the care it provides.
 

Insights

Today, issues relating to the practical value of a building are largely decided by the quality of the environment it provides or by the extent to which it enables the architecture to achieve lasting added value despite quickly changing usage requirements.

Experience
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