The Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Betaplan have set out to enhance the Greek National Health System with three state-of-the-art hospitals in Thessaloniki, Sparta and Komotini. Construction is currently underway and all three are scheduled to open in 2025. These hospitals are designed to operate with the environment at the core and create beautiful, nurturing spaces for patients.
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To foster a supportive, caring environment, nature is a key element of all three designs. Courtyards, playgrounds, gardens, and parks form interactive green spaces for patients and guests. By maximizing transparency through glass openings and surfaces, the hospitals become encompassed within the surrounding vegetation, immersing those indoors visually in the lush green spaces. This transparency also floods the interiors with soft natural light to brighten up the spaces.
Sustainability is a principal feature of all three projects. Each hospital will use timber for the structural elements and rely on electrical energy from geothermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems.
Firstly, located in Central Macedonia, the SNF University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki is the largest of the three new hospitals. By keeping various users in mind, the architects designed different access routes for the public and staff. For staff, an underground tunnel stretches under the main road to join the main hospital to the Research Center. For the public, a more scenic route has been designed. A pedestrian bridge takes visitors from the parking lot to the hospital entrance through a safe, accessible route through the gardens.
Secondly, this new infrastructure will replace the existing General Hospital of Sparta. It will also combine with the Hospital of Molai to become the General Hospital of Lakonia. In doing so, it will support various local health centers across the region of Laconia.
Trees are a crucial element of the design, creating a lush ecosystem within the building’s rural context. In fact, the hospital is designed to be a three-story volume that visually emerges from the canopy of trees in the park that fronts the space.
One of the most interesting natural features that the hospital will incorporate is the healing gardens. Studies show that when patients interact with nature, their rehabilitation process speeds up. Therefore, these healing gardens will be safe, interactive green spaces where patients with sensory disabilities can walk around and explore their environment.
And finally, the SNF General Hospital of Komotini will be a secondary health hub for the region of East Macedonia and Thrace. Similar to the General Hospital of Sparta, it will support a network of local health centers within the region. The new building will also replace the existing Sismanogleio Hospital of Komotini. The three-story hospital will be located in a vast 70,000 square-meter, or over 750,000 square-foot, park.
Energy efficiency is one of the hospital’s primary targets. Both hospital wings will be wrapped in a solar metallic steel canopy that supports photovoltaic panels and shades the interiors from excessive solar radiation. Additionally, it will feature 30km of geothermal wells, providing 100% of the hospital’s heating needs. Through its solar and geothermal electricity systems, it will eradicate the need for fossil fuel combustion. Because of its incredible energy-conserving strategies, the SNF General Hospital of Komotini is aiming for a LEED Platinum Certification goal.
Images via Renzo Piano Building Workshop