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Evolving and reversible architecture

The Joseph Bracops Hospital enjoys a unique location, set in an urban landscape, yet lined with remarkable green spaces. We chose to prioritise preserving the qualities of this environment, so we decided to redevelop and condense the existing site, rather than extend the existing buildings. In the same vein, we wanted to integrate a new public square and a shared garden into the project, to further strengthen the relationship between residents and their hospital. Our proposed masterplan for the new hospital also echoes the urban planning found in neighbouring garden cities: we developed the structure of green spaces and buildings in tandem. The urban hospital of tomorrow takes a holistic approach to health promotion, reflected in the quality and closeness of these green spaces. It holds the well-being of patients and staff at the heart of its concerns.

Integration of mineral and green spaces into the masterplan

A strategic flow distribution oriented towards the future

We developed the site distribution around the public level on the ground floor, leaving scope for future developments. We thought of each hospital building as a ‘hub’ in a model adopted for the polyclinic building and applied to the entire development: the reversible building. Each building has individual access at the public level, making it easy to add or remove clusters during the phased reconstruction of the hospital. It is therefore possible to expand or reduce the hospital infrastructure, but also to reassign some parts entirely, without jeopardising the hospital’s strategic distribution principle.

Designing a hospital based on a sustainable real estate approach

Case study - ZMK

Designing a hospital based on a sustainable real estate approach

Reversibility in the polyclinic buidling
Modular prefabrication of the clinical support block

Circular architecture and performance-based design

We planned the new polyclinic to be both evolutionary and reversible. To that end, we studied the structural, technical, and spatial characteristics of modular spaces in the event of a future change of use. We wanted to optimise material and energy flows – a fundamental principle of the circular economy – throughout the project, especially in the choice of materials, the design of prefab building envelopes, or in energy conservation practices.

The advanced off-site modular prefabrication of the new operating rooms will shorten works and minimise disruption on site. When it comes to complex medical/technical parts of the infrastructure, modular prefabrication will be of greatest value.

The new compact buildings combine optimised functionality (reduced distances) and high flexibility (modular surfaces). Our performance-based design approach allowed us to work on essential factors from the very first sketches, including maximizing natural light to create an ideal environment for both patients and staff.

This project has been founded from the very beginning on circular economy principles. We are proud of the way the new hospital will showcases sustainable urban infrastructure, whilst also confidently facing the future.

Laurent Grisay ir. architect, executive partner

A public institution with open arms

The green spaces ‘slide’ under the building, creating a passage and a link between the mineral spaces and the garden, which meet where the main entrance stands. A planted patio gives the reception area a large stream of natural light and extends the visibility of green space inside. The lobby includes a cafe open to the garden, highlighting the social link with the neighbourhood that the institution seeks to place at the heart of its approach.

We regard the urban nature of the site as a unique opportunity to host social functions and activities at the very heart of the hospital. In this way, the hospital is no longer just somewhere patients pass through but a new public place of their city, perfectly integrated into the urban fabric. Entry into the hospital feels more natural and the transition to treatment spaces is softened, helping to further integrate patients into society.

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