Robotic surgery meets architecture
Tuesday 11 Jun 2013


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ORSI, short for OLV Vattikuti Robotic Surgery Institute (OLV referring to the Hospital of Our Lady in Aalst, Vattikuti to the contributing foundation) is the first European training centre for robotic surgery. In collaboration with Ghent University, ORSI offers specialists and OR-teams worldwide the opportunity to follow “Animal Lab Training” in a highly technological environment. The collaboration with the Ghent University was inspired by their possession of a vivarium and by the strict legislation in these matters.

The centre, 250 sq m and completed in November 2012, is located on the campus of Ghent University’s Faculty of Veterinary Sciences. One of the campus buildings was completely renovated to house ORSI. Robotic surgery limits tissue damage during an intervention, resulting in an improved quality of care. This aim for quality became one of the objectives for the design, translating the effectiveness of robotic surgery into the interior. The specifications were translated in a functional, pure, futuristic interior that forms a complete contrast with the outdated exterior.

Design quality was defined in a number of ways: sustainable materials, a clear architectural concept, recognisability, simplicity, functionality. Through sustainable materials, such as chip-proof inox door frames, hygienic synthetic wall covering, supple floor covering. By sustainable interventions, such as insulating double window frames and led lighting, through the conversion of an existing building with possibilities for future expansions. In functionality, making flexible practice spaces, creating a clear circulation trajectory, and separate supporting functions.

All functions -  the main entrance, reception, operating rooms, changing rooms, kitchen and training centre - connect through a circulation axis with a particular changing atmosphere. The circulation space was reduced to a pure space with a specific character thanks to RGB-directed ceiling lighting. The changing colour and flowing design create a unique atmosphere within this sterile environment. The contrast between the white ceiling and walls, and the dark floor with a blue inlayed line that connects the main spaces, creates a crisp interior. Chip-proof inox door frames accentuate the transition between spaces. The operating rooms were decorated neutrally and austerely, but functionally.

Attention is on the exercise, which involves a high level of concentration. The existing spaces were merged into a hall that can be split up. So, during training sessions, the operating rooms can be used separately or in landscape mode. Above the main entrance, reception desk, kitchen and stairwell, round fittings are in playful contrast with the linear furniture.

VK Studio Architects, Planners & Designers