client: Catharina Hospital Eindhoven, The Netherlands location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands realisation: different fases ongoing from 1974 photo's: Arthur Bagen, Eindhoven www.catharina-ziekenhuis.nl
surface: 100.000m² | used materials: prefabricated gravel concrete panels, curtain walls, white anodized aluminum window frames
The building plans for the Catharina Hospital date back to the end of the sixties of the 20th century, when large scale concepts dominated urbanism and architecture. Although large ‘healing factories’ such as these became more and more subject to criticism in the seventies, the building was regarded as an modern technical achievement. Building this ‘breedvoetziekenhuis’, prefabricated concrete panels were used on a large scale. Two parallel wards dominate the hospital. The H-shaped ground plan is a result of the separation of the double corridor structure and lacks the disadvantage of interior service areas. The two bottom floors of the hospital are part of the treatment zone and the policlinic. The entire third floor of the high-rise contains technical services. In one wing of the high-rise are ten nursing units, in the other are nine and in between are the stairs and elevators. Patient traffic is separated from visitors and services and crossing corridors are kept to a minimum. Since the delivery of the building in 1974 it has constantly been expanded and renovated. The main structure, with its separation between the different building parts, has been maintained as much as possible. The most important assignment lies in keeping the logistics of the hospital for its patients and personnel as efficient and logical as possible. In the last ten years the policlinic has been expanded with an extra floor, six new radio therapy bunkers have been realized as well as an administration office and a laboratory for pathology and microbiology. These extensions all correspond to the original main building through their materialisation in washed concrete. Contemporary materials such as aluminium and (coloured) glass panels give away their younger age. Overall, the unity of the complete design has been the main motive. A child daycare facility has been realized separately on the terrain. Recently a four story parking garage with 700 parking lots has been added to the complex. Much attention has been given to the transparency and plasticity of the facades. The façade has been finished in a pattern of steel enamelled triangles with perforations of different diameters. The last addition to the complex is a regional centre for mental healthcare, a combination of temporary living and treatment, with a surface of 10.300m².
Central to the design is to have the complete primary process on one floor. A principal choice is made to create a pleasant surrounding for the patients and have personnel function in the best way possible. Therefore, daylight has been allowed to enter the treatment area as much as possible and control rooms have been situated along the outer facades. Daylight and colour make for a functional but not ’cold’ interior, that benefits clients as well as personnel.
An surgery facility generally is built for 25 years. Adjustments or repairs must be kept to a minimum during that time in order to not disturb the running processes of the facility. In that way, sustainability has been a leading argument for the choices that have been made regarding building structure and installations. As a consequence, the column structure, heightened floor loads and sufficient ceiling heights, allow for a different use of space in the future. A rail system for hanging monitors and other equipment makes it easy to change equipment without constructional adaptations.
The surgery facilities are to first to meet the new demands by the College Bouw on sterility. Also, the materialization of the complex, in 10mm thick HPL plating combined with a cast seam, has been applied for the first time in the Netherlands on such a large scale.