Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
165 REHAB Basel, Clinic for Neurorehabilitation and Paraplegiology
The client’s express wish, from the beginning, was not to have the new REHAB centre look or feel like a hospital. So, what were we not supposed to do? What is a hospital? Elevators and indoor corridors flanked by countless doors leading to rooms or examination rooms a waiting lounge at the end of the hall or next to the elevator. The same pattern repeated on as many floors as permitted by zoning regulations – an economic solution because it is repetitive to the extreme, and requires no modification of staff behavior.
A rehabilitation centre is a place where people live for up to 18 months, usually after an accident. It is a place where they learn to cope with their changed lives in order to become as independent as possible again. During the day they work with therapists and doctors; they live there and spend their free time there, they meet their families and friends. They have a daily routine just as we do, but with one significant difference: everything happens in one place.
Because the patients are so restricted, because they have to stay at the REHAB centre for such a long time, we have set ourselves the task of designing a multifunctional, diversified building, almost like a small town with streets, plazas, gardens, public facilities, and more secluded residential quarters where people take different paths to move from A to B. We have tried to create surroundings that allow the patients as much autonomy as possible.
The new REHAB centre is a horizontal building on two floors, in which wheelchair users and pedestrians can easily move from one place to another: therapy and medical facilities are on the ground floor; the patients’ rooms on the second floor.
The connection between indoor and outdoor spaces was our primary architectural concern. The complex is conceived from inside out: instead of an arrangement of structures, courtyards are placed in a large rectangle. They serve as orientation and allow daylight to penetrate the entire interior. Only then did we proceed with the development of the individual rooms. In keeping with the analogy of a town plan, we thought in terms of streets and plazas in front of houses. This is still the first impression of the REHAB centre today; you walk in through a large courtyard, the centre of which is a cultivated field. In other words, you enter the complex through an outdoor space. From the main lobby, various inner courtyards provide orientation: one is filled with water, another is clad entirely in wood, the bathhouse is placed in the third, etc. You proceed along them until you reach your destination.
When you have arrived, you realize that the “houses” vary considerably; places like the gym or the workshops, as well as the patients’ rooms are defined by large windowpanes and views of the landscape, with a seamless transition between inside and outside. Other rooms, however, are entirely inwards in orientation; the most obvious example is the bathhouse, placed in one of the central courtyards like an erratic block wrapped in black rubber. Numerous small round holes in the low-slung roof make what looks spectacular from the outside very intimate from within. In the painting workshop and library, both on the roof, the view into the distance is staged: one can look back into the city or out into the expanses of the Alsace.
The diversified design offers patients and their relatives a building that does justice to the complexity of their needs. There are places where one can retreat and be alone and others in which to enjoy company. And there are also non-territorial places that are not assigned to a specific function, small places for the times in between treatments, for conversation with relatives, or for staff members during their breaks. The REHAB is an open, permeable, breathing building.
Wood of different kinds and uses is the predominant material on the façades and inside. One might speak of a kind of pavilion or garden architecture, beginning with the continuous terraces along the rooms on the second floor. Delicate structures of wooden rods, horizontally interwoven in some places, vertically inserted into the ground in others, guide cloth awnings or function as screens to provide privacy. The plexiglas dowels that link these wooden rods glisten like beads when light falls on them.
These beads have a big sister in the patients’ rooms; in the middle of the curved, hollow ceiling, there is a transparent plastic sphere two meters in diameter. Somewhat like the eye of the room, it offers patients laying in bed a view of the sky. And it makes the room, despite its wide veranda, so bright that one almost feels as if one is outside. The veranda has been made wide enough to wheel patients lying in bed outdoors in good weather.
After the existing REHAB centre to the south is demolished, landscape architect August Künzel – with whom we have already collaborated on the design of interior courtyards – will supervise the planting of kitchen and ornamental gardens there and to the west. These gardens aim to integrate the REHAB centre into the surrounding countryside with its family gardens. To the north, a playing field and a training course are available to wheelchair users in the summer.
377 Kinderspital Zürich
The Institution of the Children’s Hospital in Zurich
The University Children’s Hospital has been operated by the Eleonoren Foundation since 1874. An international competition launched in 2011 called for a new facility in combination with pioneering hospital architecture. The call for proposals specified the client’s requirements as follows: “We wish to create an atmosphere in which children of all ages and their parents will feel as sheltered and comfortable as possible despite their personal circumstances, and a facility that is architecturally and functionally designed to optimize treatment procedures and the work of the staff.” Herzog & de Meuron won the two-phase competition in 2012.
The mandate of the Children’s Hospital is to supply highly specialized care of children in conjunction with research, teaching, and the fostering of a new generation of academics in the field of child healthcare. The 200-bed hospital is the largest in Switzerland for both inpatient and outpatient care of children and adolescents. The new project in Zurich-Lengg will replace the facility in the Hottinger quarter, which has long outgrown its current capacity.
The Healthcare Campus in Lengg
The site in Zurich-Lengg lies on the outskirts of the city in a leafy residential district, which is also an important recreational neighborhood for residents of Zurich. Geologically, Burghölzli, as the hill is called, is a protected glacial landscape. Two plots of land on a proverbially green meadow have been earmarked for the new project, which is to be integrated in a campus of institutions devoted to various aspects of healthcare. A close neighbor is the Psychiatric University Clinic (PUK), also known as “Burghölzli,” housed in a listed building of 1869 designed by Johann Caspar Wolff.
The New Children’s Hospital
The project for the Children’s Hospital in Zurich consists of two buildings: the hospital and a research center. The hospital, on the site to the south, is a distinctly horizontal, three-story structure opposite the “Burghölzli”. The main entrance, a large gate, is exactly opposite the portal of the historical building. The concave gesture of the main façade creates a spacious forecourt for both institutions.
A holistic concept underlies the project, unlike the conventional layout of hospital buildings. These tend to consist of various, often relatively high tracts, which may give patients the impression that they are being shifted back and forth between departments that are separate and distinct and do not work together. The large horizontal shape of the hospital defines the holistic nature of the building, characterized from inside out by a delicacy of material detail.
The words ‘horizontal’ and ‘holistic’ describe the two basic principles, devised by Herzog & de Meuron to meet the requirements of a hospital architecture that responds specifically to the needs of patients and staff. These principles already played a decisive role in 2002 for the REHAB Basel, a special clinic for neuro-rehabilitation and paraplegiology, and apply to another healthcare project underway in Hillerød, Denmark: the New North Zealand Hospital.
The Children’s Hospital follows an urban grid with streets, intersections, and squares. The functions or departments correspond to neighborhoods. Every floor has a main street. Several green inner courtyards varying in size provide daylight and structure the right-angled layout of the rooms. Nature penetrates deep into the building. Some of the courtyards, round in shape, are arranged along the main street where there is access to the most important areas of the hospital.
The ground floor with its large round entry is the most public zone within the hospital. It accommodates the main facilities for examination and treatment with the highest visitor and patient frequency as well as emergency room, intensive care, and operating rooms. Restaurant and access to therapy services on the first lower level are located right next to the entrance; the latter are connected directly to the garden for patients. On the second floor, both sides of the main street are flanked by further divisions of the polyclinic, which are in turn surrounded by an office landscape oriented towards the outside, with some 600 workplaces for medical and administrative personnel.
The top floor is the most private area of the hospital. Four wards form quadrants in which a total of 114 rooms are arranged in a ring structure oriented towards the outside. Each of the rooms is designed like a little house with its own roof, ensuring privacy for the young patients and their relatives in combination with an expansive view. Inside, four therapeutic divisions—cardiology, oncology, nephrology, and the center for brain injuries—are located along the main street, where children and adolescents can receive transdisciplinary treatment and care in the immediate vicinity of their own rooms. The divisions correspond to the special areas addressed in the research center nearby.
The façade of the hospital is a weave of various materials. The primary, repetitive concrete framework is part of the support structure and resembles shelves usable at both ends that bracket the first and second floors. The framework may be filled in with wood, glass, fabric, or plants to meet the needs of the rooms behind it, such as simultaneous requirements of daylight and privacy. The complex inner life of the hospital with its diversity of uses can thus be perceived from the outside. The third floor, with patient accommodations, speaks a language of its own. It is set back from the concrete structure of the two floors below. Each of the rooms can be identified for they are staggered in arrangement with roofs of varying inclines: the little houses lend expression in an elementary, understandable way to the individuality of each patient.
Building for Laboratory, Teaching, and Research
The building is located on the parcel to the north. It is a cylindrical, white structure in which rooms for university hospital uses are organized around a center as a leitmotif for collaboration. A sky-oriented, five-story high atrium provides a central space for researchers. An agora for teaching spreads out underneath, relating directly to the surrounding landscape. The two superimposed main spaces of the building are like communicating vessels, connected by a small, round opening in the ceiling – an oculus.
Three lecture halls are pressed like steps into the hollow of the existing topography. Daylight comes in from outside. Fitted with operable partitions, the halls can be converted into a large space with lobby and café. For special events, an agora can thus be created for an audience of 670 people, like an ancient theater with a stage in the center. This is expanded above into a gallery, with desks for students. Adjoining seminar rooms on the same floor complete the accommodations for university study at the Children’s Hospital. Research and diagnostic laboratories as well as attendant offices with permanent workplaces are organized along the façades of the upper five stories. They offer an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape. Open writing desks for doctoral students and laboratory staff line the atrium and provide visual lines of contact across several stories.
From the outside, the building speaks an abstract formal idiom with a clear-cut geometry and few materials. Cantilevered balconies with white stucco railings and glazing set far back make the building look both heavy and airy at once.
The two very different buildings of the Children’s Hospital are mutually complementary. The hospital emphasizes the individual: every single patient and the attendant healing process. The Building for Laboratory, Teaching, and Research clearly demonstrates the conviction that pioneering breakthroughs in research are possible only through transdisciplinary scientific cooperation.
416 New North Zealand Hospital
The hospital is surrounded by nature and contains a garden in its center. The horizontality of the building and its undulating form responds to the location of the hospital in the midst of the wide Danish landscape. A horizontal building is an appropriate building typology for a hospital, because this fosters exchange: across the various departments, the employees work on a shared goal: the healing of the ailing human being. The new hospital shall overcome conventional operational borders. The tall hospitals of the last decades, with their functionalist language, have rarely achieved this goal.
The plan is the marriage of two seemingly contradictory goals: the desire for a large central garden and the necessity for short internal connections. The result is an organic cross shape that permits the interior garden to become a flowing space. A central hall underneath the garden is characterized by four round courtyards. The hospital pulsates from here.
Viewed in section, the arrangement of the functions is simple: two floors for examination and treatment form a pedestal upon which a two-story ribbon of wards is placed along the perimeter, forming the large central garden. In the pedestal, on both levels, connections to the outdoors are created in various ways. Courtyards provide daylight and vistas, and ease orientation. Large connected areas, the repetitive arrangement of the interior courtyards, and uniform room sizes offer a high degree of flexibility. Later changes of functions can be easily realized.
Two basic principles guide the organization of uses within the pedestal:
1. The more frequented a department, the more central its location.
2. The main streams of outpatients and inpatients are separated vertically. Each level of the pedestal serves one primary stream.
The pedestal is mineral with a slender, vertical facade structure, permitting a high degree of flexibility while offering visual protection at the same time. The courtyard facades could be clad in differing materials; they create orientation and variety. The pedestal contains the functions of the hospital that are used by everyone, which is reflected in its continuous facade. The pedestal is an expression of community.
The wards, in contrast, express privacy and small scale. They are made of lightweight prefabricated modules: two by two patient rooms respectively create a small rectangular house of metal or wood. The bathrooms are located in between, set back. They are polygonal and give the ribbon its undulating shape. The plan resembles a spine. The patients’ rooms offer generous views into the treetops or across the wide central garden. From this viewpoint, the hospital looks like a two-story complex.
The landscaping concept consists of two typical Danish landscape typologies. A forest park with clearings for parking lots surrounds the building, while the central garden is Heathland. Circular hedges inhibit views into the pedestal and create the path network of the garden.
This project will be the heart of the new masterplan of Hillerød South.
497 University Hospital Basel, Perimeter B
Basel and the Life Sciences: University and Health City
The Basel University Hospital, situated within the city walls dating from the 13th century, is embedded in the small-scale structure of the Old Town. In contrast to the perimeter city blocks that characterize the surroundings, the hospital campus consists of distinctive, single buildings constructed over many decades around an inner-city garden that has always been a public park. The decision to keep the hospital near the University and to increase its density has attracted other institutions in the fields of teaching, research and healing, such as the ETH Zürich.
The Biozentrum was inaugurated in 2018 and the tower of the hospital’s Klinikum 2 (K2) building will follow; both are large-scale buildings which add conspicuous, erratic notes to the skyline of Basel. These developments are not reversible: the University and Health City is emerging as a city within a city.
A burgeoning Health City of such stature calls for an urban vision that will integrate single and separate, function-oriented buildings into an overarching concept. A cluster of taller buildings is generally preferable to isolated high-rises. We therefore propose another tall building for Perimeter B to complement the ensemble flanking the hospital garden. Over the long-term, we see the potential of densifying the University and Health City by adding more tall structures and simultaneously extending the garden.
The contemporary city with its justified requirements of research, teaching and healing will become manifest behind the veduta of the historical city. An urban quality that has shaped the city of Basel since the 20th century will be accentuated: the natural side-by-side of a small, historic patchwork city and an industrial city of dyes, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and life sciences.
Functionality and Urban Planning: A Three-part Composition
The new building must meet the exacting needs of a complex brief. The outpatient tumor center, laboratories and outpatient nephrology are permanent functions but during construction on K2, it will also provide temporary quarters for other departments (phase 1). The permanent uses will be installed later (phase 2).
In collaboration with the hospital planner Teamplan, Rapp and Herzog & de Meuron have devised a three-part composition to achieve the flexibility required to meet these complex needs: an elongated base on a slope that accommodates three to four stories with two objects hovering above it, a 12-story cube and a one-story, kidney-shaped pavilion. This division of the large volume into several parts ensures a trouble-free side-by-side of permanent uses and temporary quarters.
The subdivision also makes it possible to establish a precise spatial and atmospheric rapport with the urban environment and the hospital garden. The three-story base responds to the height and scale of the landmarked neighborhood along Hebelstrasse. It is four stories high at the other end and flanks the hospital garden, thus establishing a relationship to K1 that is similar to the current nurses’ residence built by Hans Schmidt. The axially positioned high-rise will transform the unattractive Schanzen-/Klingelbergstrasse junction of the ring road into a prominent urban Plaza of Research with access to the new building and the hospital garden. It is clearly juxtaposed with the new K2. As integral to the urban vision, the cube lends the growing University and Hospital City an identity and a center.
Permanent Uses in the Base: Tumor Center and Laboratories
On the Plaza of Research, a canopy marks the main entrance to the hospital lobby from Klingelbergstrasse. Placed under the cube hovering above, it divides the gently curved base into two halves and, as in K1, it links the street and the garden, but on a more intimate scale. It also provides direct access to all of the departments located in the base (and in the cube): the outpatient tumor center on the three lower floors and laboratories on the two floors above them. Inner courtyards provide orientation and daylight; waiting zones adjoin them. The corridors provide intermittent views of the city and the garden; small terraces allow staff and patients to enjoy the fresh air. The base is connected to K1 above and below ground along Schanzenstrasse. The existing, complex infrastructure underground must remain operative during and after construction, which is an additional functional and structural challenge.
Nephrology and the dialysis station will be housed in the pavilion on top of the base. The proximity to Holsteinerhof and a separate entrance on Hebelstrasse ensure an inviting atmosphere and privacy for patients returning for regular treatment.
Cube: Flexible Spaces for Two Phases of Use
Temporary quarters for K2 are located in the cube, a flexible building with an efficient floorplan. Conversion for phase 2 is restricted to this high-rise component and will make only a marginal impact on daily routine in the base. In phase 1, the cube will temporarily accommodate the outpatient units, such as Surgical Polyclinic, Dermatology, the Medical Polyclinic and Functional Diagnostics. These areas of high patient frequency are accessed directly from the main entrance. As the plans now stand, pathology, genetic medicine, research and teaching will be housed in the cube during phase 2. It is also conceivable that the Eye Clinic, which is now outside the Health Campus, will be relocated to the new building.
Form and Facade: Finely Structured, Curved Contours
The architecture is characterized by sweeping, convex and concave contours. Their origin is indebted to the shape of the plot; it follows the former city walls, which are now the ring road. This sweeping gesture resonates on a smaller scale in biomorphic shapes, such as the roof of the nephrology pavilion, the main lobby and smaller elements of the building like stairs, ramps and the brise-soleils of the facade.
Cantilevered concrete floors, setback glazing, brise-soleils of lightweight concrete, awnings and natural stone cladding lend the new complex depth as well as an open, breathing character and a mineral quality. A kinship with other buildings on the hospital campus is intentional, especially with K1 as a superb example of modernist hospital architecture; we have taken the building’s detailing and material idiom a step further. The brise-soleils – “mineral parasols” for a highly transparent facade – direct daylight deep into the building. Conversely, they minimize the sunlight reflected back onto the city and reduce light pollution at night. The bright, finely structured elements of the facade are human in scale and treat sun and light in different ways.
Hospital Garden: Heart of the University Hospital
The new building emphasizes the qualities of the inner-city hospital and reinforces them as part of the overall vision. The hospital garden with its trees still constitutes the heart of the entire complex. The base that flanks it is relatively low, ensuring ample space, air and sun while the greened roof terrace on the base affords a view of the Baroque garden of Holsteinerhof and the hospital garden.