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Natural materials and conscious design shine at this Dutch hospital

Drawing from the enduring relationship between nature and wellbeing, EGM Architects weave biophilia into their human-centric concept for Radboudumc hospital.

20/03/2024

2 min read

Photography: Scagliola Brakkee


Taking on the full-scale redesign of Radboudumc’s 46,000 sqm main building, Dordrecht-based firm EGM Architects were informed from the outset by the hospital’s three core values: sustainable collaboration, personalised care and public health. A focus on the important, interdependent relationship between nature and human wellbeing formed the basis of EGM’s design concept for the newly refurbished hospital, and as a result, the architects strove to bring as much of the outdoors into patient rooms and communal spaces as possible.

Recognising the importance of working and recovering in natural light (to support the body’s natural biorhythm as well as our physical and mental health), natural light and verdant plants take centre stage, enabled by an abundance of large windows. Nowhere is this appreciation for the great outdoors more evident than the seven-floor-tall central atrium, where sunlight and views of the courtyard gardens brighten the welcoming communal spaces on the ground floor. Here, a combination of outpatient clinics, reception areas and the hospital’s restaurant sit behind a glass façade that smoothly transitions into a glazed roof to offer year-round views of the sky above.

 

As the first university medical centre in the Netherlands to the awarded the BREEAM Excellent certificate, the main building now features a material-saving structure, numerous prefabricated components, 700 sqm of solar panels on the roof, a thermal-storage installation, water-saving measures and, most notably, uses no fossil fuels. It is this holistic, environmentally conscious approach that has earned Radboudumc the title of ‘the most sustainable hospital in Western Europe’.

Along with EGM’s considered use of biophilic elements, clear spatial composition and circulation were also prioritised to benefit the health and wellbeing of both patients and healthcare providers spending prolonged periods of time the hospital. Throughout, the user-friendly layout also includes strategically placed spaces for medical services and logistics, adaptable audio-visual points and integrated, smart tech innovations. This reimagined main building therefore forms the heart of Radboudumc’s green campus, ushering in a sustainable and future-proof ethos billed to stand the test of time.

 

Along with EGM’s considered use of eco-friendly, biophilic elements, clear spatial composition and circulation were also prioritised to benefit the health and wellbeing of both patients and healthcare providers spending prolonged periods of time the hospital. Throughout, the user-friendly layout also includes strategically placed spaces for medical services and logistics, adaptable audio-visual points and integrated, smart tech innovations. This reimagined main building therefore forms the heart of Radboudumc’s green campus, ushering in a sustainable and future-proof ethos billed to stand the test of time.

In order to encourage a more collaborative environment for doctors, nurses and students, in place of traditional departments are 11 shared spaces for consultations, workshops and studying in the staff departments. Welcoming, well-equipped lounges are also positioned beside departments and throughout the medical centre for easy access, enabling well-earned breaks for on-site staff.

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