The ever-growing Gasthuisberg site of University Hospital Leuven has undergone a complete make over since its original build dating from the 70s. Multiple architecture firms have been working (and are still working) on the brand-new Gasthuisberg campus, under which architects De Jong Gortemaker Algra together with Stabo and AR-TE.
Since its original build in the 70s the UZ Leuven has been growing and growing, therefore expanding was inevitable. The architecture of the renewed University Hospital Leuven is part of a bigger urban plan for the Gasthuisberg location.
In 2002, urban planning studio AWG developed an urban design plan in which the Gasthuisberg campus is drawn as a city with actual streets, squares and a city wall. New pavilions – the urban neighbourhoods – each have their own functions and are connected via modern infrastructure. This means that the different hospital parts each have their own building and are well-connected for optimum communication. The Catholic University of Leuven and UZ Leuven have the ambition to expand the Casthuisberg Campus to become a Health Science Campus, making it the crème de la crème of healthcare in Belgium and even Europe!
The 12-year expansion plan entails the new building of multiple departments. All these departments each have their own buildings, like neighbourhoods in a city.
The architecture of each of these different neighbourhoods is unique with its own ‘look and feel’, while still matching with the existing buildings. This verged some creativity from the architects!
To ensure a contrasting ‘look and feel’ between the neighbourhoods, the director of the hospital chose to work with multiple architecture firms. De Jong Gortemaker Algra (dJGA) was one of those winning architectural firms in 2003 and got the green light to work on four projects on campus. Their projects include the new building of a hospital for mothers-to-be and children, a logistic platform, an underground parking, the department for critical cases and the renovation of existing operation- and recovery rooms.
Central in their design is the individual user experience, while keeping in mind the bigger picture of Gasthuisberg as a city. A clear example of putting user experience central is one of their latest buildings, which will open its doors in 2018, the hospital for mother and child. The combination of an abundance of light through the 6 daylight patio’s in the centre of the hospital, the use of light-coloured ochre bricks, a friendly colour scheme and light and transparent materials ensure a welcoming and safe feeling for both mother and child.
In addition, patient rooms have ‘rooming-in’ facilities, meaning that parents can stay overnight when their child has to stay in hospital and there is an education centre in the hospital to provide children the opportunity to go back to school so that they don’t miss out on anything.
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