WAN Future Projects Healthcare Award 2016 Shortlist Announced

Tuesday 21 Feb 2017

Six outstanding projects chosen for the WAN Future Projects Healthcare Award

Founded to showcase innovative ‘design only’ concepts, the WAN Future Projects Healthcare Award 2016 celebrates progressive entries that push their specific building typology forward. The designs submitted to the healthcare category demonstrated imaginative approaches to integrating medical complexes into sometimes challenging locations, while achieving effective working environments for clinical staff and maximising patient comfort. 

The judging panel studied the longlist of entries in order to select a shortlist, assessing the designs on criteria such as originality, innovation, form, function, sustainability and context. This year’s jury, selected for their expertise in this sector, were: Jason Towers, Senior Healthcare Designer at Perkins + Will, Paul Woolford, Design Director at HOK, Jean Mah, Principal and Healthcare Planner at Perkins + Will and Duane Passman, Director of 3Ts at Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. 

After much discussion, the jury settled on the shortlist of six, listed below no particular order:

Hamad Al Wakra Psychiatric Hospital in Al Wakra, Qatar by CallisonRTKL

CallisonRTKL’s proposal for the Al Wakra New Psychiatric Hospital reflects the unique identity of Qatar, while incorporating modern medical design. The program includes 14 mental health wards, outpatient and inpatient pavilions, a mosque and underground parking. Duane appreciated the impression the Hospital will create on its surroundings, stating: “The main entrance area and plaza is striking and impressive.” 

Connectivity and unification of all wards is successfully achieved by the incorporation of a Main Street inside the complex, which promotes social interaction between patients, staff, visitors and family members and helps the individual wards from becoming isolated. Jean said: “The generally obvious organization of the patient units along a single spine and graduating from most public to most secure is made more interesting through the use of varying spatial volumes, outdoor courtyards, and daylight well into the building components.” 

The overall approach exemplifies a non-institutional design solution that benefits all those using the hospital, together with the surrounding community. Each nursing unit is planned as a neighbourhood, incorporating different levels of interaction. Sight lines for staff with unobstructed views of all areas allow for a level of security and supervision, providing patients with comfort, dignity, and safety. Jason highlighted the “very clear, very inviting form and interiors, given the stigma of the typology in the region.” 

Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montreal (CHUM) in Montreal, Canada by CannonDesign + NEUF architect(e)s

Situated along Saint-Denis Street, one of the most famed roads in Canada, the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montreal will occupy two full blocks to become the anchor of the city’s new health district. Duane praised the resulting design as “an impressive achievement on such a constrained site. This is a bold and unapologetic development, but appears to be suffused with some really delicate and thoughtful touches.” Architectural elements from a former church will be incorporated as artefacts within a soaring interior public space. Jean deemed the concept successful in this respect, stating: “A neutral backdrop for the historic church and house is created by the new buildings.” 

Vegetated rooftop terraces break down the massive scale into a string of very human moments. Duane commented: “I thought that this use of rooftop gardens was commendable, as it is all too easy to lose sight of amenities like this in such a monumental development.” At crucial intersections, the hospital allows public circulation to cut through its spaces as an urban shortcut. The centrepiece of the campus is the auditorium building, a landmark address for the hospital and the heart of the urban plaza. Jean said: “This is a huge civic and community project striving to clarify identity and entrances through the use of specific materials, colours, and open space along with the feature amphitheatre function to organize the various program components and scale.”  

LOSEV Natural Life Center & Drugless Therapy in Çankiri, Turkey by MuuM

The site for this therapy centre is located in the centre of the vast and dry Anatolian plains in central Turkey and was formerly a fish farm, where water was collected in a serious of artificial ponds. Over the years, the water altered the surrounding landscape, encouraging the growth of lush vegetation. The area was recently acquired by the Health and Education Foundation for Children with Leukaemia, who intend to create a unique educational and recreational complex dedicated to the promotion of a sustainable lifestyle, focused on organic agriculture, permaculture, livestock and waste management. Jason was intrigued by this concept, saying: “I find the project and context quite fascinating.” 

The design creates an ecological infrastructure to regenerate the environmental quality, together with an economic system. If both systems work well, the approach could be adopted elsewhere in other facilities. The judges thought the scheme showed promise for achieving success, with Paul stating: “The project is well developed, thoughtful in its narration, and beautifully described graphically.” Jean agreed, saying: “Situated on a beautiful site and water's edge, the project successfully integrates varied program components - residential, community/social, and working - into a campus with well-defined zones and open space buffers. The distribution of functions facilitates physical activity while providing vistas that are of water and land.  The residential units are simple, understated and yet spectacular in siting and scale.”

Danish Centre for Proton Therapy in Aarhus, Denmark by LINK arkitektur

The Danish Center for Proton Therapy will be the most advanced radiotherapy facility to date and the only one of its kind in Denmark. The façades and the building’s overall expression are designed to underline the function of the centre, and tell the story of precision, which is the key component of proton therapy as a form of treatment. The concept identifies optimal functionality while ensuring spaciousness and daylight conditions around the building’s inner framework. Paul commented: “Diagrams explain the big design thinking, and the project’s architectural and interior ideas are clearly expressed.”  

In this type of treatment centre, it is essential to ensure comfortable conditions for patients and staff in unambiguous pathways and workflows. Duane noted: “The facility appears to offer clear and simple internal navigation and a human scale for such a sensitive function - which is right.” Textural, warm materials combined with green, hanging gardens ensure an accommodating, yet professional healthcare environment. Jean said: “Given the climate in Denmark, the use of plantings indoors allows views and contact with nature year round in the atrium. Attention to detail through subtle texture of brick walls and glazing provide tactile surfaces and human scale.” The perforated steel façade ties together the building, creating coherence. Jason praised the overall design as an “elegant solution that brings warmth to a challenging clinical treatment.”

Rehabilitation Centre Xi´an GaoXin in Xi´an, China by Nickl & Partner Architekten AG

This Rehabilitation Centre combines functionality with high residential quality to create a space for healing and wellbeing. Embedded in a lush landscaped garden, the centre includes three ten-storey towers together with an oxygen dome and a multifunctional base level. Jason praised the handling of context and integration with the landscape, while Duane commented: “I thought the oxygen dome was an interesting and strong concept that breaks down the rigid cubist geometry of the rest of the site.” 

Despite the size and complexity of the spatial programme, the balanced proportions of the rooms and the clear arrangement of the buildings generate a great degree of security and orientation for patients, visitors and staff. Paul said the design: “expresses a good level of development, both artistically and programmatically.” 

The entrance to the foyer is reached via a gently curved path through a naturally designed greenway. Patients, staff and visitors experience their first approach to the Centre as a stroll through the blossoming garden. Duane said: “This is an extremely visual striking submission - especially the gradated banding across the blocks which does appear to soften their impact. Considerable thought has been given to the patient and visitor experience at the entry level and around the blocks themselves: it would have been all too easy to provide a functional and drab surrounding, rather than the green space and proposed watercourse.” 

620 Fulton in Brooklyn, United States by Francis Cauffman

This mixed-use health centre and commercial hub is designed to integrate public spaces in the developing cultural community of Downtown Brooklyn. The project creates a new public plaza, adds an extended sculptured streetscape, and incorporates public art. Duane commented: “The shape and form of the building appear quite innovative. I particularly liked the idea of a huge mural on the south wall of the building.” 

The building’s key feature is a dematerialised curtain wall, whose high transparency combines with a wave pattern and lends ambiguity to the position of the wall itself. Similarly, clear glass helps create the impression of movement by revealing the activity of people inside the building. Jason praised the “creative façade treatment that stimulates the street edge.”  

The building’s circulation corridors run alongside its perimeter, inverting the usual layout of healthcare interiors. Jean stated: “The non-institutional design of the exterior carries through into the clinic space.” She went on to highlight the effectiveness of the plan, “with clearly defined public space, on-stage and off-stage zones facilitated by the dual access exam rooms, and the openness of staff work areas to support collaboration amongst staff.” 

A new approach to appointments influenced the design, as there are no physicians’ offices or waiting rooms – all bookings will be handled electronically, and health centre members will simply walk straight into their treatment spaces. Duane commented on this innovation, saying: "the ‘medicine in minutes’ is bold, and it will be interesting to see how it works in practice.”

WAN AWARDS would like to thank the jury and congratulate all six finalists in the WAN Future Projects Healthcare Award 2016. The final winner of this category will be announced on 14th March 2017.

Lucy Nordberg

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