Go to main content

A hospital open to the city

The CHwapi hospital centre is located in a residential area along Tournai’s ring road. Due to its location and scale, the hospital, built in two phases, plays a major social role as a catalyst for neighbourhood development. The CHwapi project illustrates a desire to “live together”, connecting residents and their hospital by presenting a place of sharing and exchange in the heart of an urban park. The hospital’s forecourt has been designed as a vast public esplanade connecting the hospital to the city and surrounding parks. As well as being a place for participatory and public activities, the forecourt also promotes walking and cycling.

We have supported this soft mobility with the absence of any car traffic on the forecourt. Taxi drop-off and parking is found in the lower level car park, easily accessible from street level. Patios cross over parking levels to bring in natural light. The public gallery of the hospital is the backbone of the project: a three-storey atrium housing the hospital’s general reception as well as commercial and catering spaces. Users intuitively find their way around and can easily reach directly accessible outpatient services.

A true place of sharing and exchange in the heart of an urban park, the CHWapi illustrates a desire to ‘live together’ by reinforcing the connection between the inhabitants and their hospital.

Nicolas Van Oost ir. architect
The public gallery alongside the esplanade
The gallery gives access to outpatient departments

A place to heal better

The hospital services are bathed in natural light and in close proximity to vegetation. The waiting rooms and circulation areas are organised around gardens and patios in the base of the building. At higher levels, the geometry of care units has been studied to provide patients with clear views while minimising travel distances for caregivers. Maximum natural light also means minimal artificial lighting needs. And when weather conditions permit, natural ventilation can be used to manage the temperature, reducing energy costs.

The chosen materials also contribute to the warm and welcoming character of the hospital. The base’s glazed facade is accented by wooden cladding that gives organic substance and a human scale to the work. The patient care units have a sober and contemporary identity, reflecting the transparency and efficiency of the hospital: the volumes laid on the base have a glass and aluminum skin, elegant and durable, whose folds vibrate under the changing light of the day. We have used palettes of light tones and natural materials such as wood or stone to express the soothing quality of the infrastructure.

One of the patios illuminating the outpatient departments
The waiting areas bathed in natural light

An evolutionary infrastructure

We thought of the hospital as a living organism, constantly evolving and adapting. CHwapi’s infrastructure has therefore been planned out in a sustainable manner, allowing easy reconfiguration of spaces and functions, without undermining the fundamental principles of organisation and flow. The modular nature of the levels and the positioning of the main circulation areas have been adapted to suit fully automated logistics (AGV) and allow many configurations. Based on the principles of evidence-based design, the spaces also incorporate innovative modes of care.

Alongside its evolutionary spatial design, the entire project relied on collaborative working in accordance with the BIM protocol. This approach allowed us, in the design phase, to proactively coordinate all studies through the establishment of an integrated monitoring interface to the model shared between the design offices. An as-built interactive model will finally allow the new hospital to centralise operations management and infrastructure maintenance by integrating the necessary links and information in the virtual model.

View from the Lalaing boulevard

Gallery of images



Discover other case studies

How can we design an urban hospital according to circular economy principles?

Case study - BRACOPS

How can we design an urban hospital according to circular economy principles?

Redesigning a hospital campus, a long-term collaboration


Redesigning a hospital campus, a long-term collaboration

All case studies
Go back to homepage Go to the main menu