Healing design

Wednesday 30 May 2007

Murray O' Laoire Architects/Brian O' Connell Associates, healthcare architects unveil the new-build day hopsital and chapel in Galway

The new-build day hospital is located to the rear of the existing Bon Secours hospital with a Southerly aspect and enjoys views over the local neighbourhood park and Galway Bay.The design team’s vision for the project was a hospital that had logic and clarity in regard to its form and circulation. The design is informed by the principle that both the provision of good natural lighting and quality landscaping are deemed therapeutic and an aid to the healing process. The resulting day hospital is a single storey building whose building forms express primary spaces and way-finding by utilising a series of landscaped courtyards, glass corridors and directional elements such as ‘zigzag’ windows.The hospital departments are connected by lower elongated buildings whose roofs share the same planting, ‘sedum’, as in the courtyard areas. This effectively merges the ‘linking buildings’ with the ground when seen from the upper bedrooms of the existing hospital and accentuates the sculptural roof forms of the Radiology, Day unit, Endoscopy and Theatre departments.Accommodating a congregation of between 35-40 people, the chapel is located within a courtyard setting, lying along the main hospital circulation axis. The design sets out to achieve a literal and spiritual space within which all of the needs of the hospital community are allowed room to breathe. In contrast to the functionality of the hospital’s rectilinear forms, the chapel finds its own expression metaphorically derived from ripples created from stones cast into a body of water. The ripples randomly intersect each other, linking together to form a fluid curve that encloses a space of still water. The chapel is orientated on an east-west axis. To the west a curved concrete wall, imprinted with timber grain in a board on board manner, encloses the building. To the east the curved glass wall, containing artist Hughie O’ Donoghue’s depiction of the liturgical cycle, is illuminated by daylight. As the day progresses the sun’s rays hit the wall at different angles illuminating the individual elements of the story until dusk.

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