The Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Renzo Piano Building Workshop, in collaboration with Betaplan, set out to improve the Greek national healthcare system with three state-of-the-art hospitals in Thessaloniki, Sparta and Komotini. Construction is currently underway and all three are expected to open in 2025. These hospitals are designed to operate with the environment at their core and create beautiful, nurturing spaces for patients.
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To foster a supportive and caring environment, nature is a key element in all three designs. Courtyards, playgrounds, gardens and parks form interactive green spaces for patients and guests. By maximizing transparency through openings and glass surfaces, the hospitals are encompassed by the surrounding vegetation, visually immersing those inside in the lush green spaces. This transparency also floods the interiors with soft natural light to brighten up the spaces.
Related: This Health Center Maximizes Energy Use and Greenery
Sustainability is a main feature of all three projects. Each hospital will use wood for structural elements and rely on electrical energy from geothermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems.
First, located in Central Macedonia, the SNF University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki is the largest of the three new hospitals. Taking into account the different users, the architects designed different access routes for the public and staff. For staff, an underground tunnel runs under the main road to connect the main hospital to the Research Center. For the public, a more scenic course has been designed. A pedestrian bridge takes visitors from the car park to the hospital entrance via a safe and accessible route through the gardens.
Second, this new infrastructure will replace the current general hospital in Sparta. It will also merge with Molai Hospital to become Laconia General Hospital. In doing so, it will support various local health centers in the Laconia region.
Trees are a crucial element of the design, creating a lush ecosystem within the rural context of the building. In fact, the hospital is designed to be a three-story volume that visually emerges from the canopy of trees in the park that faces the space.
One of the most exciting natural features the hospital will incorporate is the Healing Gardens. Studies show that when patients interact with nature, their rehabilitation process is accelerated. Therefore, these healing gardens will be safe and interactive green spaces where patients with sensory impairments can walk and explore their surroundings.
And finally, the SNF General Hospital in Komotini will be a secondary health center for the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Similar to Sparta General Hospital, it will support a network of local health centers in the region. The new building will also replace the existing Sismanogleio Hospital in Komotini. The three-story hospital will be located in a large park of 70,000 square meters, or more than 750,000 square feet.
Energy efficiency is one of the main objectives of the hospital. Both wings of the hospital will be wrapped in a metal steel solar canopy that supports photovoltaic panels and shields the interiors from excessive solar radiation. In addition, it will include 30 km of geothermal wells, supplying 100% of the hospital’s heating needs. With its solar and geothermal electricity systems, it will eliminate the need for burning fossil fuels. Due to its incredible energy saving strategies, SNF General Hospital Komotini is aiming for LEED Platinum certification.
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Images via Renzo Piano Building Workshop