Calming and light-filled environments facilitate the healing process in a high-tech urban healthcare facility
Liberalised policies in Sri Lanka now encourage the private sector to provide healthcare facilities. A very recent addition is the locally funded, designed and built Asiri Surgical Hospital in Colombo.
A state-of-the-art hospital was required in two ‘seamless’ stages, with facilities for out-patients, in-patients (mostly individual rooms), diagnostics (lab, CT scan, MRI...), special treatment (ETU,ICU...), operating theatres, centralised utilities (laundry, kitchen, steriliser...),residential staff and vehicle parking.
Influenced by both a technologically complex brief and a constricted site, the design concept emerged as three linked multi-storey buildings functionally differentiated for hospital, ancillary (residential staff, utilities) and parking. Space within the hospital building (12 floors) was also functionally defined; lower floors for out-patient care, mid-level floors for in-patient care and uppermost floors for operating theatres.
A signature building complex was the design intent to distinguish the client from competitors and also offer a healing and life-affirming environment for patients and their families. This was pursued through creating ultra-sterile treatment areas and open, light-filled public spaces. The latter were tiled in familiar vibrant patterns inspired by local woven-craft motifs to provide visual relief from illness and anxiety. Similarly cheerful, strategically located staff-pods offer positive work environments. Off-duty staff have comfortable accommodation.
Reducing energy consumption benefits all including the wider community. Sustainable design initiatives taken include orienting buildings to minimise solar heat-gain and reduce air-conditioning load and placing solar panels for hot water to in-patient rooms. This supplements costly city water with a separate tube-well sourced system to irrigate landscaped areas and also flush sanitary appliances. The architects have also taken care to ensure that habitable spaces are illuminated in daytime mainly by sunlight.
The hospital attracts, engages and thereby helps to retain some of the country’s best medical specialists and surgeons, another benefit to patients which also accrues to the wider community.