Hospitals are not generally associated with beauty, style or pleasure. Sadly, the circumstances under which a person may visit a hospital, especially if they are visiting a loved one who is sick, are not what we would call optimal. Sterile white walls, tiny television sets and stark décor have become all too common in our minds when we think about a healthcare facility, so architectural beauty is not something we usually expect from buildings like these.
Hospitals are spaces that need to be highly functional as well as properly designed. This is why architects are changing the way we look at healthcare facilities taking a more holistic approach to the way these buildings are imagined and built. Patient care will always be the main priority of any hospital, yet these institutions are striving to create a better healing environment for their charges.
Here is a list of some of the most impressively designed hospitals in the world and what makes them special.
South Tower Expansion for Providence Holy Cross Medical Center – Mission Hills, California
The $180 million South Tower Expansion facility was built by Global design studio HMC Architects. The elegant looking facility displays an eye-catching white and blue color scheme. Opened in July of 2011, the hospital holds a Silver LEED certificate reflecting its commitment to sustainability.
Children’s Hospital in Orange County – California
This striking eight-level facility was built by Texas-based architects FKP. The building is colorful and playful outside as it is inside, where you can find thematic settings in every floor from “fossils” in the basement to “spatial” decoration on the top floor. The latest renovation was a new tower finished in 2013 that uses sustainable building principles and materials.
Outpatient Tower at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas, Texas
FKP Architects is once again the design company behind this amazing $800 million facility, that is replacing the current St. Paul University Hospital. The main tower itself feels light and spacious due to the large windows that encase the thirteen-story structure.
Kaiser Foundation Hospital – Fontana, California
This hospital has been in operations since the 1940’s but it has been renovate constantly since then. International architects HMC completed the last upgrade in 2013. The hospital is not only know for being extremely environmentally sound, but also meets California’s rigorous earthquake safety standards.
New Stobhill Hospital – Glasgow, Scotland
Edinburgh-based Reiach and Hall Architects created Glasgow’s New Stobhill Hospital, a facility that not only services patients, but also frequented by locals who visit its cozy café. Natural light is well maximized and hot air is circulated from a system that draws from the plant room. It has won many awards and it has been rated highly for being environmentally conscious.
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre – Ontario, Canada
Opened in 2004, the hospital – which serves Thunder Bay and large parts of Northwestern Ontario – is known for its cancer care facilities. Radiation treatment rooms are illuminated with skylights that let in natural lighting that brightens rooms that are usually associated with gloom and sickness. The unique use of wood as part of the structure and multiple-height interior spaces give this hospital a distinctive and innovative look.
Harlem Hospital – New York, New York
HOK (formerly Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum) designed this beautiful work of art. The impressive glass panels on its façade form murals of art pieces by renowned African-American artists. At night, the artwork lights up from the inside, giving the displays unparalleled beauty and presence.
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center – Franklin, Wisconsin
Located in the countryside of Franklin, Wisconsin, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center was designed trying to emulate a homely environment instead of that of an institutionalized building like most hospitals are. Designed by HDR Architecture and opened in 2008, the facility uses stained glass, wooden finished and warm lighting to create a familiar environment, characteristic of the region.
Uppsala University Hospital Psychiatric Building – Uppsala, Sweden
The building was designed by the Nordic architectural firm Tengbom and won a design competition in 2007. The large windows offer great views, let the light in and also help remove barriers between those inside the building fostering an atmosphere of enhanced interactions between people. The open courtyard in the center also allows for natural lighting to illuminate the inside of the building.
Union Hospital Health System Replacement Hospital – Terre Haute, Indiana
Finished in 2010 by TEG Architects out of Jeffersonville, Indiana. The hospital is mostly covered in glass, with a translucent façade and atrium that allow for taking the best advantage possible of available natural light. Open spaces and the best use of the space available are also characteristic of this beautiful building that has the safety and comfort of its patients and personnel as the main priority.
For more articles on amazing wonders of architecture, visit Kenny Slaught’s blog.