Healthcare architecture: Design for a diabetesclinic in Rotterdam-Zuid

The design project for a small community based clinic was based on an extensive research into the principles of the Healing Environment, with a more specific focus on the concept of Social Support. This psychological theory suggests the benefits of parts of our environment in the recovery from illness, in this case the stress reducing abilities of the social network of patients. The research resulted in a set of principles which have been applied in the design on multiple scales; from the urban interception, by which the clinic not only becomes part of the city’s fabric but also enhances the social and spatial cohesion, until the most intimate part of the patient’s perception, the patientroom where concepts as privacy, territory and personal space are of importance.
The social support principles formed the main part in the program of requirements for the design, complemented by a study into possible syndromes or diseases which would be suitable for the small, elective clinic and a field research into the specific problems and needs of the district, a deprived area in the suburbs of Rotterdam. This resulted in a cross-district, multifunctional program with, on the one hand, specific functions for diabetes patient from the entire city, and, on the other hand, local functions aimed at primary care, prevention, welfare, youth care, wellness and commercial exploits.
The building gives a boost to the impoverished environment of the subway station and attracts the public within through an internal street (‘care boulevard’). The roofed courtyards enhance the healing environment and are part of the energetic concept. The easy-to-read and coherent floor layout supports wayfinding. Different layers of privacy can be found, from a more public setting on the lower levels and the internal street, to a more private setting in the patient floors on the upper levels. The detailing of the ground floor façade provides an interaction with the surroundings, with meshed screens which can be raised according to the wanted level.

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