of the new hospital
Meander Medical Centre Interior, Amersfoort
With extensive experience designing buildings of varying scale and nature, atelier PRO has a strong, distinctive vision on architecture. This concerns the human scale, interaction, findability, spatial qualities, colours, materials, and a site-specific approach. These ideas echoed those of the client and the changing vision of healthcare, and responded automatically to the principle of the ‘healing environment’. Alongside functionality in the medical sense, the patient and the visitor are the focus at Meander Medical Centre . With this project, atelier PRO became the first practice outside the established network of healthcare architects in the Netherlands to design a hospital
The use of colour and materials support the clear order and architecture of the building, utilised for atmosphere as well as findability and recognition. As opposed to an over-the-top application of colour in response to the sterile white of hospitals, colour here is embedded in a calm base of natural materials such as white-washed plywood and bamboo, ceramics and a soft white. This allows for better contrast and nuance in the colours used. In this way, the hospital receptions are easily recognizable by their illuminated green front and all waiting rooms are characterised with a green wall. Different functions are easier to locate through differentiation: the wards each have their own warm colour accent and clinic entrances are marked with a signature colour. To keep costs low, certain simple materials received a luxurious finish, for instance gold-painted chipboard on the suspended auditorium and panelling made from bamboo strips.
The spaces between the buildings are approached as public areas. They provide an overview of the buildings and surroundings, complete with street furniture-like interior elements. Through a subtle palette of grey tones, the tiled floor resembles natural stone. In the public squares and along the main avenue, street signs marked with house numbers function as entrances to the clinics. The high, light-filled atrium called Brink is the ‘living room’ of the building which houses the lunch terrace for staff, visitors and patients, and the self-service restaurant below.
The process of waiting is focused on a pleasant, informal stay intended for the open, public areas and as little as possible in private, enclosed rooms. Waiting benches are integrated into the railings on the bridges between the clinics and the lunch terrace - where people are also welcome to wait. In the glasshouse-like square called Oranjerie, people can opt for timber garden benches wrapped around kidney-shaped clusters of bamboo or colourful café-style chairs. Here, tables are combined with the benches to avoid creating repetitive rows of chairs and to create flexibility, relaxation and diversity.
Lighting is only installed where really necessary and where it supports the sense of spaciousness and daylight. As opposed to the usual uniform, cold implementation, lighting here offers a natural play of illumination; varying levels of brightness help to distinguish different areas. Indirect lighting is used throughout instead of harsh fluorescent lighting.
The private patient rooms are not located on typically straight, long hospital corridors but on wedge-shaped communal spaces that more resemble a living room. The wider end offers a panoramic window overlooking the bustling main avenue on the lower floors and the beautiful green surroundings on the upper floors. This space encourages interaction, inviting patients out to become mobile sooner. Sliding doors offer the option for the patient to open their room to the ‘wedge’, or be closed off from it. Made from rubber to dampen the noise of footsteps, the floors also indicate the type of space for both perception and functionality: for instance at an intersection marked by zebra stripes or in the wedges through block colour. The back wall of each room has a different colour, complete with an integrated timber wall unit that accommodates the cupboard, worktop, lights, and connection points, and a recess for the bed.
The built-in and freestanding furniture was also designed by atelier PRO. Besides the furniture in the abovementioned patient rooms, waiting areas and receptions, this also includes the restaurant, kitchenettes, pharmacy, and open-plan offices. In total, more than 3000 pieces of furniture were custom made for the whole interior.
The design covers architecture, interiors, a public car park and a parking garage for employees.