Design concept blends traditional Chinese forms with Western technology to combat the spread of contagious diseases
Demand for better healthcare facilities in China has increased, resulting in a wave of new hospital construction. Chinese hospitals have typically been designed as narrow buildings with low floor-to-floor heights that relied on natural ventilation. These building forms accommodated important aspects of traditional Chinese design but they were cold and damp in winter, hot and humid in summer. Contemporary Western designs, with large floor plates and high floor-to-floor heights, are more comfortable and efficient, but are less culturally appropriate in China. The design team created a hospital that blended traditional Chinese forms with Western technology.
The design solution is a campus with a linear spine and a series of narrow buildings that are curved to capture sunlight and channel the winds. Although the buildings will have internal mechanical systems consistent with those found in U.S. hospitals to halt the spread of infection, the campus organisation locates infectious patients downwind and offers them the natural healing power of sunlight and serene garden views. The building is situated so it has prevailing southeasterly winds; therefore, the non-infectious zone is at the south end of the campus with the semi-infectious zone in the center and the infectious zone at the north.
Controlling infection is a major problem in Chinese hospitals. Poor ventilation and obsolete mechanical systems are typical in almost all of China’s pre-expansion hospital facilities. Often clinical areas are open to natural ventilation which could be catastrophic in a specialty hospital such as this. By segregating patients according to disease type and using state of the art mechanical systems and isolation practices, the fear of contagious disease spreading between patients, staff and visitors is controlled. Pedestrian traffic is organised the same way keeping public and staff separated while also allowing for efficiency and ease of movement.