Arhitektu Birojs Forma completes major rebuild and addition for Latvian hospital
The new Ventspils hospital building project reflects the desire of its designers to create an emotionally positive atmosphere permeated with associations of domestic comfort and privacy. The welcoming character of the building facilitates the mental well-being of patients, expediting their recovery as a result. Proximity to the sea and surrounding pine forest, as well as the context of traditional detached single family homes, inspired the architects to think of the proposed four-storey building as a large glazed veranda. The facade composition pattern, along with large roof overhangs and use of natural wood finishes on the exterior as well as interior of the hospital, reference the local tradition of residential building type. Lower building volumes housing a small conference room and cafeteria located on the Vasarnicu Street side of the main building help perceptually negotiate its scale and visual impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.
The architectural design strategies employed in the project support a continuous and consistent design character as well as allowing for the complimentary nature of an 'inside-to-outside' experience. The perceptual reduction of scale and ‘domestication’ of the institutional character of a healthcare facility are key design concepts adopted in development of the design. Particular attention was devoted to the visual effect and quality of floor finishes in long corridors. Striped in bright colours, carpets cover portions of corridor and patient care unit floors. This design strategy is aimed at softening the character of the spaces as well as foreshortening the perceptual impact of an attenuated or large volume. Pleasant levels of soft, distributed light are delivered by a mix of wall sconces and cove lights. While use of wood on the exterior help the hospital achieve a good fit with its neighbours, extensive use of wood finishes on the interior engender a sense of warmth and comfort in the overall building experience.
Complete accessibility of the hospital building by physically handicapped and special needs patients has been a top priority in its design and construction process. The new hospital building in Ventspils is equipped with numerous accessibility features; all access points are ramped, all public and circulation spaces are equipped with wall-mounted hand rails and wood pannelling, all levels of the hospital have disabled-access restrooms, floor finishes include functional accents highlighting entrances, nurse posts, reception desk, as well as other important features and services within the building. Entrance doors are automatically operated, while all levels of the hospital are vertically accessible by two hospital specification elevators.
The material and colour palette of the new Ventspils Hospital building reflects the calm and relaxed atmosphere of the nearby seaside, the beach, and the surrounding pine forest.
The reconstruction of Ventspils City Hospital and the addition of new building has improved conditions for patients, staff and the community; the location of new building along Vasarnicu street makes a closed inner yard for the existing hospital, where several buildings have been built during the last hundred years, and organises clearly the main entrance to the hospital, separating urgent admitions from planned admitions and
providing the necessary separation of different departments. The short distance from admition to treatment areas help optimise the hospital's service using only the existing space.