Bertine Lahuis on the new Main building for the Radboudumc

‘This building fosters understanding by connecting people’

The opening of the ultra-modern Main building of the Radboudumc by the Dutch monarch concludes a 30-year period of transition to a new care campus. “I’m proud that this is the most sustainable university medical centre in western Europe,” says Lahuis.

Lahuis hears lots of satisfied reactions to the contemporary building. “From both patients and visitors, and also care professionals. They are positive about the sense of space, the pleasant working environment, the fine acoustics, the layout and the shorter circulation routes. Our staff are very happy with the spaces they now occupy. They can choose to work quietly or to meet one another in various consultation spaces. They were concerned about that aspect. In part because our new organizational structure necessitates change. Even the most critical of them now admit that ‘It beats expectations.’ For us as a hospital body, it’s very important that our staff want to be here. Of course there are issues to be resolved, and some care professionals have expressed reservations. It is new, needs getting used to, and yes, in ways it’s really different.”


Everybody can feel at home here

The architecture of the new Main building is a modern interpretation of the Bossche School style, based on the ideal proportions. Lahuis: “This style ensures that all parts of the building are harmoniously interconnected. The human scale is evident everywhere. On the wards, in the rooms, in the clinics, in the staff rooms. The sense of compactness, even though this is actually a major building, means that everybody can feel at home here. With a variety of convivial seating areas and attractive reception spaces, this agreeable building fosters encounters and connections among people.”

This building reflects that; it is an important representation of vitality

Building facilitates smart hospital

According to the chair of the board, the Main building stimulates innovation in healthcare. “It’s an ultra-modern building. Not for nothing that we call it a ‘smart hospital’ that makes use of technological innovations. For instance, we can continuously monitor patients remotely, which allows them to get more rest instead of being disturbed all the time. With all its technical infrastructure, the building is perfect for that. The invigorating environment helps us to get patients back on their feet as soon as possible. And if they are confined to bed for a period, then they can enjoy pleasant surroundings. In rooms where they can open the window and see the sky outside, where the colours and materials are pleasant, where they have a maximum of autonomy and control. Those are all valuable aspects that boost the recovery of patients.”


Care for everybody available and accessible

The new main office of the Radboudumc symbolizes the hospital of the future, believes Lahuis. “It’s an incredibly sustainable building. And sustainable in the broadest sense of the word, which is also our most important goal: to keep care available and accessible to everybody. This building reflects that; it’s an important representation of vitality. The building itself, with the materials used and the way we limit energy consumption. And by offering staff much more variety in workspaces, green surroundings when they look outside, shorter circulation routes and more places to meet one another. Patients feel more energized because they can find their way around more easily; they benefit from a healthy environment that includes green gardens and luxuriously fitted rooms.”

The sense of compactness, even though this is actually a major building, means that everybody can feel at home here

Above expectations

That this Main building now exists is, according to Lahuis, down to the unique design process. “We really did it together, with the architect, the designer and the staff and patients. It cost quite a bit, but if you want to realize something that good and sustainable, you have to do it intelligently. And the result is there for all to see. These new surroundings do more for everybody than we had expected beforehand. What this building does on the campus, in combination with the Experience Center [also designed by EGM architects] on the other side continues to amaze me. You’re standing inside something new and you’re looking at something old. I find that spectacular, again and again.”


Maud van Gennip, copywriter and editor, spoke with Bertine Lahuis in February 2023

Project: Main building Radboudumc

Portrait: Paul Tolenaar