Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Binh Chanh Pediatric Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by VK Group
November 17th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: VK Group
We aim for a project with strong identity, where children feel at home as a patient and a child. We aspire to create a recognizable and open design, that has the potential of organizing the complex program in a clear structure. The design offers an abundance of air and light and an optimal relation between inside and outside. The healing environment offers to the children, as well as to their family and staff clearness and quietness, providing an essential support to the nursing program.
The location of the hospital is almost central in a new development area and therefore the hospital design will, together with its size, impact the masterplan development. In our area plan, a central, public square in front of the hospital accentuates the public function of the building.
Most traffic roads run in the north–south direction. To enforce an east–west movement for pedestrians, we create rectangular landscape features along informal footpaths to obtain maximum connectivity and communication between different healthcare facilities. We aim for a masterplan with good image quality, with unique features that give each place its specific identity.
It’s a delicate matter to reconcile a landscape and an extensive and complex hospital program. In our design, the landscape prevails as the always returning background for every perspective and every view. The artificial landscape is characterized by an organic shaped slope in the east–west direction, a buffer between the free-way and the rest of the masterplan. It also creates additional external areas on the hospital site.
Small-scaled flower-shaped buildings cover the sculptural landscape, partly defining the project’s image. These organic shapes house the inpatient wards, totalling 1.000 beds. The landscape passes underneath the elliptical buildings, and forms gardens and patios with green and water features. The wards are lifted to the level with the most beautiful view.
Protected from the direct sunlight and ‘hidden’ in the artificial landscape are all outpatient and paramedical services, around a central public square, with a capacity for up to 6.000 patients per day. On the first floor are all the operating theatres and Intensive care units. A protective roof will combine these specific functions and provides shading and covered outdoor spaces. Sunken gardens and patios provide natural light and offer a certain sense of privacy and safety at the same time. In between the medical floors and the wards, an open level is dedicated for staff and education. The openness of this semi-public level creates exciting views over the sculptural landscape through the building.
Special care is given to circulation routes, in the conviction that daylight and exterior views offer the best guarantees for a clear and simple way-finding. Roof openings provide daylight and air, and increase the orientation of the children, relatives and staff.
Three vertical circulation shafts form a focal point on the central place. Inside the departments the routes run along patios and atria. The successive spaces, with different atmospheres, form quiet spaces in the public circulation.
The wards as separate entities stimulate the readability of the building. The patient rooms are organized around an internal void, creating an oval ground plan with a fantastic view for all the rooms. Daylight penetrates into the building, through the day rooms and family rooms. A back bone connects all elements like a spine.
Natural cross ventilation uses the wind pressure and stack effect to ventilate the wards. As such, the natural ventilation is more stable on days with less or no wind. It is however advisable to use mechanical ventilation in all medical rooms and also where contamination is to be avoided.
Solar shading. All medical department are located under a curved overhang that forms an organic landscape, consisting of structural screening. In this way the solar gains in the patient rooms will be limited, needing less energy to cool the rooms. As a bonus, this type of solar shading does not obstruct the visibility to the outside.
Using the thermal mass of concrete walls and floor slabs, night cooling also reduces the energy consumption for cooling. Walls and slabs absorb the heat built up during the daytime, through a combination of solar gain, electronic equipment and user occupancy. As the external temperature drops at night, the building can be cooled by partially opening the vents around the building.
Solar energy. Solar panels absorb the sun’s heat and store this energy in a reservoir. The solar collectors have an optimal orientation and slope angle. On sunny days, the solar panels produce 75% of the demand for sanitary hot water. This way, 40% of the heating requirement for hot water is provided by the sun, in a carbon neutral way. In many cities around the world it has been recognized that the most significant ecological advantage of roof planting is storm water management. Roughly 50-60% of rainfall is expected to be retained by an extensive green roof. Any excess water can be collected and stored in a modern rain management system or cistern. As another benefit, the vegetation and substrate layer acting as a water filter; these layers hold back particles, dust, solute pollutants, and even heavy metals. The excess rainwater can then be used to irrigate the roof, used as toilet water, or any other available purposes. The roof can in normal conditions suffer from huge thermal fluctuations on its upper surface throughout the day and through the year. In extreme cases these can range over 100 °C. Planting the roof surface dramatically reduces the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the roof’s bare surface. The high daily thermal swings are neutralized and the annual fluctuations are decreased to between 20 and 25°C.
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