Maria Middelares GH, Ghent (Belgium)


Views and natural light everywhere. This is where patients find peace and quiet

"Thanks to the design, every room - even the operating theatres and the entrance hall - have natural light. From their beds, patients can see the neighbouring greenery and green roofs. Engineering has been hidden away. We're not a factory." Prof. Verdonk, general manager, Maria Middelares general hospital.

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Maria Middelares GH, Ghent (Belgium)

Flexible and sustainable hospital that invites you to go inside

The Ghent Maria Middelares GH was created in a merger of the Maria Middelares hospital in Ghent, and the Sint-Jozef Hospital in Gentbrugge. The new hospital replaces the old buildings in the neighbouring grounds, and the smaller grounds in Gentbrugge. Consistent with the hospital's philosophy of 'health care with a soul', the focus is entirely on the patient. Together with the Belgian firm of LLOX architects, EGM architects developed the Masterplan for the site. This collaboration led to an open, patient-friendly and sustainable hospital, aimed towards the future.


The innovative hospital on the Ghent Ringvaart canal has 631 beds and 20 high-tech operation theatres and intervention rooms. The building was built in a U-shape. This makes for a clear structure and limited walking distances, and allows natural light to enter everywhere. Furthermore, it will be easy to create future extensions to the building.Together, the three building volumes create a U-shape, and each volume houses one of the three primary hospital roles. The western block houses the medical-technical rooms, such as the accident & emergency rooms and the operation quarters. The outpatient clinic is situated in the other block of the U-shape, and the nursing wards are in the building volume that sits across the other two blocks.The atrium, with the entrance hall, is inviting, light, spacious and easy to navigate. The large open space feels more like an airport terminal's departures hall than a hospital. Patients 'check in' and then proceed to a 'gate', where they are attended to. The deeper they move into the building, the more privacy there is.

Focus on the patient

In the hospital, the focus is on the patient. That's why the design is open and airy. For example, there is natural light in every room. Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, patients have a view of the green environment straight from their beds. In the patients' rooms, all technical appliances and engineering has been concealed, and outside as well, all engineering has been hidden from sight in the spaces under the wavy green roof.

Green and sustainable

Green façades, a green roof and natural light, combined with top cooling with heat recovery and borehole energy storage ensure low-energy comfort. The compactness of the building also capitalizes on the sustainability aspect. Departments co-operate more, leading to better utilization of the building's spaces and an increase in the hospital building's cost-effectiveness.