Assuta Medical CentreEdit profile
Assuta Medical Centre Designing an international healthcare facility requires an understanding of the site and the local culture in order to understand the nature of the project. The design process for the Assuta project successfully merged patient expectations with the hospital’s objectives by integrating the site, culture and medical systems. The hospital’s goal is to provide a new standard of treatment and services currently unknown in Israel. The facility will attract clients and the best medical staff allowing for sustainable future growth. The Client The client group consists of an insurance company that will manage the hospital, providing both the medical and non-medical services, and the development company, which would construct and own the building. This unique joint venture had a profound influence on the design of the building. The Nature of the Facility The Assuta Medical Center’s main services are invasive and non-invasive, diagnostic and procedural. They include, in phase one of a two-stage construction process, outpatient and inpatient facilities with 16 Operating Rooms, 27 Intensive Care units, 230 acute care beds, 40 day-surgery beds, Imaging, Catheter Labs, Radiation Therapy and 25 Dialysis Positions. The new center will add significantly to the capacity of the existing 6 Assuta facilities in Israel. The first phase of the project includes 4 levels of car parking below ground and approximately 500,000 sf above ground located on 150,000 sf site. The site One of the key design challenges was using the building to connect the park and the city. The site fronts Hayarkon Park to the south, while to the north the long rectangular site borders on Habarzel Street, a newly developed high-tech zone for the city. Hayarkon Park meanders through Tel Aviv starting from the Mediterranean Sea, going east to the mountains. The second major challenge was that the site was part of a pre-existing two-phase commercial development. Phase I, an office complex, had already been built, while Phase II, the hospital site proper, had previously been excavated with all the foundations in place to receive another office complex. The combination of the client group, the facility and the site, with the particular challenge of the pre-existing construction all combined with the procedural/diagnostic hospital program to provide a unique design appropriate to this facility. It was decided that, in order to achieve the goals of the client group, accommodate the programmatic needs of the hospital and respond to the site conditions, a variety of tools would be used to enable the client group to make informed decisions at each step of the design process. The long plan of the hospital is cut through on the north south axis (perpendicular to the park) in two places, creating public spaces that link the street with the park. A large atrium facing the park was created between these two links, forming a U-shape with the bottom of the U facing the park. This public space forms the main circulation spine of the building both horizontally and vertically. This loop works as the orientation device for the hospital, forming an essential connection from one end of the building to the other. An angled cut in the bottom mass directs the circulation from the east plaza to the main entrance of the building in the centre of the block. This cantilevered mass not only encourages people to move towards the entrance, but also provides shelter as they make their way from the plaza into the building. The building mass is composed of two bodies"a lighter white mass resting on a heavy, reddish brown mass giving the sense of massive sculpted boulders anchoring the building to the ground. The composition recalls the image of a Mediterranean village with white houses on a heavy mountain base. The red stone base, with public spaces that appear as large slots in the boulders, continues inside the building and is inspired by the passageways of dense rock in the walkways of Petra, Jordan. This four-storey plinth contains all the clinical outpatient and procedural services. One of the many functions of this plinth, unique to Israel, is that it must also serve as a bomb shelter. Here the windows are much smaller in contrast to the lighter mass on top of the plinth. At specific points along the plinth are boxes clad in dark bronze aluminum that punctuate the regular rhythm of the windows. The much lighter white mass will contain the more private hospital wards of inpatient services. The many windows of the hospital rooms punctuate the skin of this mass. There is a layering between the identical windows with the stone pattern and detailing creating a secondary, falling rhythm that tempers the long rectangular volumes. Between these two masses is an interstitial space that provides the mechanical services for the building. This significantly reduces the need for mechanical space on the roof, as the ducts run from the middle of the building both up and down. This also frees up more floor space for programmatic functions. On top of the bottom mass, at the level of the interstitial space, is a roof garden that provides a green space to patients on the top floors who are unable to travel down to the park below. Along the south façade, directly across from the park, is a four-storey glass wall that allows the patients to maintain a connection with nature. The inspiration for this wall was the image of a "Mahrabieh" (an Arabic screen generally made of wood that provides necessary screening from the sun). These screens help to block and fragment light as it enters a space. The glass wall is fritted in large patterns ranging from translucent to 30-80% opacity. The frit is dark brown in color, giving the sense of a magnificently large screen. The screen is pierced with the chapel box, which is floating in the air halfway up the atrium between the interior and the park. It is intended that this chapel be a non-denominational spiritual place for all three of the major religions of Israel.