Slingeland Hospital is a medium-sized regional hospital in the centre of Doetinchem, where it is no longer able to function optimally. Accessibility is insufficient and the building is very outdated. The ideal location for the new Slingeland Hospital, in terms of regional accessibility, is just south of Doetinchem, in the beautiful countryside. It’s not surprising, however, that the new building was a sensitive topic among local residents, who feel strongly connected to their rural surroundings.
Therefore, our point of departure was clear: the new hospital needs to “be a guest in the landscape”, fully integrated into its green surroundings. For this reason, Slingeland Hospital opted for a design process that, contrary to standard practice, views the new location as the primary starting point. The vision was dictated by Nico Wissing, a landscape architect born and raised in the countryside, and our winning design fit in best with his landscape vision. The building we designed celebrates the surrounding landscape, and the landscape connects organically with our building.
From above, the four-storey hospital looks like two adjacent boomerangs. From the central hall, the four wings of the building reach out into the landscape like fingers. Everywhere in the hospital, central hall included, you have a view of the surrounding landscape. Visitors and staff are guided past trees, flowers and other greenery to the bicycle shed and the car park, which are largely hidden from view thanks to green landscape elements.
Medical supplies and goods arrive in the basement, out of sight, and are distributed throughout the building from there. Thanks in part to the two-way access elevators, the logistics are completely separate from the walking routes for patients and visitors. By grouping medical functions, efficiency is achieved on a greater scale. In this way, all complex functions are vertically connected: emergency and ICU on the ground floor, radiology on the first floor and the OR on the second floor. From the ground floor, an ER patient can thus be quickly transferred to the OR via an elevator. Less complex functions, such as the nursing wards, are also clustered vertically in another section of the building. This clustering also means that vital, expensive technical facilities can be used efficiently.
When designing a hospital, the overall patient experience is often neglected, even though it is so important. That’s why we worked together with architect, colleague and “healing environment”-expert Milee Herweijer. After all, the well-being of patients and visitors is about much more than just a few nice lights and colours on the wall. It’s about space, light, views, walking routes and many more elements that should be part of every hospital design. When you enter Slingeland Hospital, you don’t feel lost in a giant entrance hall, instead you are welcomed in a relatively small space. You have a direct view to the outside and can easily find your way. Themes from the surrounding landscape are abstractly but palpably translated into the interior, for example in sophisticated light designs and subtle prints on the walls and ceilings. In this hospital, you feel like a human, not a patient.