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“Cloverleaf” Hospital Wins Design Competition

Aerial view of a low-rise, cloverleaf layout for a hospital in Hillerød, Denmark
A low-rise, cloverleaf layout for a hospital in Hillerød, Denmark—conceived by a team led by Herzog & de Meuron—has been chosen as the winner of a design competition. The four-story structure includes a two-story pedestal topped by a two-story upper-level “ribbon” that undulates around a central garden. © 2014, Herzog & de Meuron, Basel

The winning design for a new hospital in Denmark is a low-rise building that combines public and private space in a striking cloverleaf design.

April 29, 2014—A design by a team led by Herzog & de Meuron, of Basel, Switzerland, for a new low-rise hospital in Hillerød, a city 40 km north of Copenhagen, has been selected as the winning concept after a year-long competition. The firm announced that it has created a design that incorporates acute-care hospital services with longer-term patient-care wards on a human scale. The design melds community-oriented hospital departments, located in a two-story pedestal with an undulating two-story ribbon above for in-patient treatment. The in-patient wards face an interior rooftop garden, and in plan, the 124,000 m2 hospital resembles a cloverleaf nestled into the surrounding countryside.

Two typical Danish landscaping typologies will be represented on the site: forested parklands and heathland. Patient and staff parking lots will be scattered around the site in a number of tree-lined clearings surrounding the building, creating a forestlike atmosphere. The central garden will be planted to represent Danish heathland.

The continuous facade of the pedestal, which offers examination and treatment spaces, is meant to appeal to the broader community that is likely to use the short-term services. The upper-story wards are designed on a small scale for privacy, according to the architects.

The hospital has been designed to separate inpatients from outpatients, each level of the pedestal serving one primary set of patients. The most-frequented departments will be located in the most central locations, but the building has been designed with large connected areas and uniform room sizes so that there can be a high degree of flexibility in how the spaces are used over time.

The jury’s choice of the design is a seminal sign to architects and the health care sector that such low, flat buildings can be better integated into a community or countryside than the more typical high-rise structures that have dominated health care designs in recent years, according to a statement by Herzog & de Meuron and included in material distributed to the press. 

 To create a forestlike atmosphere, patient and staff parking lots will be scattered around the site in a number of tree-lined clearings

 To create a forestlike atmosphere, patient and staff parking lots
will be scattered around the site in a number of tree-lined clearings.
The site will highlight two typical Danish landscaping typologies:
forested parklands and heathland.
© 2014, Herzog &
de Meuron, Basel

It is “very early days in terms of the design of the structure,” said Neil Harvey, CEng, the director responsible for the Birmingham office of Rambøll UK, the London-based arm of the global consulting firm Rambøll. Harvey is also the company’s global health care sector leader, and according to written material he provided to Civil Engineering online, the current thinking about the structural solution for the hospital involves concrete flat slabs supported on reinforced-concrete columns and walls. The proposed structural frame for the pedestal is cast-in-place concrete with the potential for such prefabricated elements as shear walls and columns being explored during the next stage of the project. With a concrete system such as this, stability would be provided by the reinforced-concrete shear walls that would form the vertical structure for the elevator and stair cores, he said.

The two-story wards, on the other hand, are expected to be built with prefabricated modules, according to the architects. Patient rooms will be joined two-by-two to create small rectangular “houses” of metal or wood; each set of four rooms would share bathroom facilities. These houses will be polygonal to create an undulating ribbon that winds its way around the top of the pedestal, simultaneously providing short internal connections between various hospital departments in the pedestal and views of treetops beyond the hospital and the central garden. Renderings indicate that each outward facing room will have a small balcony.

The North Zealand Hospital is one of 16 hospital projects in Denmark that will be taking place in the coming years, according to material provided by the architects. A total investment of 41.4 billion DKK (U.S.$ 7.61 billion) is planned by the nation’s central government and its regions; of six projects planned in and around the nation’s capital, this is the only new building planned.

The hospital will include 24 medical departments and 662 patient beds and will serve as the acute hospital for the area’s 310,000 residents, according to the architects. It is expected to employ 4,000 people and perform 500,000 outpatient treatments a year.

Herzog & de Meuron were the design consultants for the project; London-based Rambøll UK and Copenhagen-based MOE performed the structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and sustainability design. Copenhagen-based Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects were the executive architects, while Zurich, Switzerland-based Vogt Landschaftarchitekten served as the landscape architect.

Construction of the hospital—which will cost 3.8 billion DKK (US$ 691.60 million), including medical equipment—is expected to begin in 2017, with hospital operations beginning in late 2020.



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