Hopkins reinterprets 'white architecture'

03 Mar 2011

Hopkins Architects presents flexible 'progetto preliminare' for La Spezia hospital

A new concept design by Hopkins Architects for a regional general hospital in La Spezia, Italy was presented to local authorities in the Allende Centre yesterday. Working in collaboration with Italian engineering firm Politecnica and healthcare specialist Dott Gemmi, the practice look to reinterpret the listed buildings on the city centre site in a intricate redevelopment project to replace the services of La Spezia’s Sant’ Andrea Hospital.

In addition to a free-standing Radiotherapy building and landscaped terraces of parking facilities, the main eight storey hospital complex is anchored by a vast atrium which forms a centre point for the simple circulation system. This covered public piazza features a cafe and retail facilities, leading to the upper floors of the hospital via lift cores and waiting areas on the exterior of the building. Additional social areas are provided in the form of two open-air planted courtyards on either side of the atrium for quiet contemplation with panoramic views of the surrounding olive groves.

Internally, the structure of the building is arranged on the principle of ‘intensity of care’, therefore the comparatively low number of available beds is compensated with generous day care facilities, with highly flexible wards housing only two beds per room. The first two floors house the most publically accessed functions, the next three are comprised of treatment departments and labs, with the top three floors accommodating the wards. Emergency services, a congress centre and a restaurant have also been incorporated into the programme.

Michael Hopkins explains: “The hospital that it replaces looked out over the town, south, down to the Gulf of La Spezia. It was 'white architecture' and represented the state of the art in architecture and hospital planning in 1935, built with hope and loving care. Treatment of patients and the scale of facilities has moved on, the new hospital will appear to grow seamlessly out of the old, built with the same hope and care at the beginning of the 21st century, an achievement of which, the town and the Ligurian region will be proud.”


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