The Sderot Medical Rehabilitation Center is located in the south of Israel, near its' border with the Gaza Strip. The center was designed to provide medical guidance and rehabilitation to the population of the Negev region and in particular of the Gaza perimeter.
The Israeli Institute of Medical Assistance, Ezra Lamarpe, is a non-profit organization which main activity is to give free medical treatment. The building houses a therapeutic pool, an occupational therapy unit, a physiotherapy unit, a diagnostic unit and a consulting unit.
Due to the unstable security state in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing Qassam rocket attacks, the goal was to design a safe building which will allow ongoing activity even when it is being bombed. The challenge was to design a bomb proof building which meets strict security requirements but at the same time creates a pleasant and convenient therapeutic environment by allowing the penetration of natural light, colors of vegetation and the sky, thus opposing the stress and claustrophobia that characterize the daily routine of running for shelter when being bombed.
The result is a building with a secret. At first sight, the exterior of the building appears as one sealed unit, but when one enters its' interior, a network of internal courtyards, gateways and various halls are discovered, washed in the desert light thanks to uniquely designed openings and a variety of old trees which grew on site for many years, that blend in with the building as one organic system.
In order to achieve the required security level, special ballistic studies were conducted.
We positioned the building plans and sections in the rockets orbit diagrams in order to analyze where its facades and roof scape can be opened to allow natural light and views and where it must be closed in a bombed proof way.
These studies allowed us to design the building in such a way that therapy, even in the external therapeutic garden, can be carry on, without a need to run to a bombed shelter when there is a rocket attack.
This is a great relief for the patients and the stuff who can concentrate on the therapeutic activities without a constant worry where they are and what will happen when there is a missile attack.
The design of the building concentrated all the therapeutic activities including the therapeutic pool on the ground floor, so they all enjoy easy access from the street, and allow convenient movement of the patients from activity to activity. A small café is designed as part of the main entrance for the patients and their families and escorts.
The consultation rooms and administration and management are on the first floor, with an extra separate access for times they need to operate in the afternoons and evenings.
Even though it is a bomb proof building it does not create an oppressive atmosphere, but to the contrary it is a building that feels part of its surroundings, intriguing and inviting at the same time and very comfortable to use.