Increase in both the quality and quantity of care provision in Zoetermeer
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Located in the middle of the so-called ‘Care Heart’ in Zoetermeer is the recently opened Reinier Haga Orthopaedic Clinic (RHOC). This 7,500-m² clinic for orthopaedics is situated close to various primary and secondary healthcare institutions on the site. The clinic is connected to the adjoining LangeLand Ziekenhuis hospital (LLZ) and, when required, it makes efficient use of all additional medical facilities at the LLZ. Together with the hospital, the RHOC increases both the quality and quantity of care provision. With 20 experienced orthopaedists from three hospitals — the Reinier de Graaf Gasthuis, the HagaZiekenhuis and LangeLand Ziekenhuis — this leading clinic is the largest facility for orthopaedic surgery in the country. The clinic has therefore taken a big step for quality and the future of specialist care in the Netherlands.
The new RHOC is a compact, urban and contemporary volume with a clearly recognizable entrance of its own. The elegant white undulating façade panels are draped around the building like glass curtains, and the rhythm of the fenestration reflects the modern and progressive work that takes place inside. The cantilevered second floor creates a canopy above the main entrance. Besides the volumetric quality and additional space for the operating theatres on the second floor, the cantilever makes the main entrance clearly contemporary and recognizable. Large windows in this canopy work as a double-sided stimulus for patients: daylight entering helps patients recover, while patients also feel more connected with the world outside and the idea of ‘returning home’. In terms of scale, the three-floor structure aligns with the surrounding buildings and blends easily into its setting.
The overall theme of ‘movement’ in orthopaedics is reflected not only in the care processes but also in the exterior and interior of the leading clinic
Everything at the RHOC is geared to encouraging patients to move around the building as much as possible. For example, the staircases are adorned with inspiring artworks that invite people to climb the stairs instead taking the lifts, which are strategically placed behind the staircases. Wavy movements, subtle interplay of lines in the facades and timber partitions, abundant daylight, undulating timber lamellas and an attractive espresso bar at the back of the atrium contribute to the holistic way in which the modern clinic motivates and stimulates movement.
The people-centred approach lies at the heart of the new facility. Entering on the ground floor, people do not encounter a traditional main reception desk but four modern and compact desks with friendly staff who welcome patients in a friendly manner and point them in the right direction. From these accessible desks, visitors and patients are naturally drawn to the spacious atrium that is flooded in daylight. At the heart of the building, the atrium is the defining feature of the RHOC interior. With plentiful daylight entering through the glass roof, vibrant and fresh colours, timber screens for privacy, lush greenery on the walls, four giant floor lamps, inviting benches and views of the floors above, the spacious atrium connects all functions to one another and provides a calm and attractive waiting area. Grouped around this central atrium are public functions such as the consultation and examination rooms and the policlinics.
The re-activation zones are positioned in front of the nursing rooms, which are arranged along the central circulation space around the atrium. Under the supervision of a physiotherapist, patients work on their recovery in this sports and movement area. The Reinier Haga Orthopaedic Clinic is known for its rapid turnaround time. All care is geared to letting patients recover as quickly as possible and return home. For patients who are required to stay longer, there is a choice of single rooms or four-bed rooms. The four-bed rooms have slightly angled rear walls so that patients face slightly away from one another, enhancing their sense of privacy. The LEDs in the rooms are adjustable. All rooms have views of the outdoors and of the re-activation zones adjoining the atrium, encouraging, motivating and stimulating recovery. Views of the atrium ensure that daylight and greenery are experienced to the full throughout the building.
We want to give patients some kind of a hotel experience, to make the stay as pleasant as possible.
Patricia Jaeger, director RHOC
Located on the top floor are the outpatient department and the four RHOC showpieces: the operating theatres. Each theatre is about 50 m², the perfect size for safe and manageable orthopaedic interventions. The innovative air-treatment system by Opragon supplies highly purified air with the same highly sterile air quality in all operating theatres. Doctors, assistants and patients can follow the operation on large screens. Large windows in each operating theatre allow occupants to experience daylight and views outside. This ensures a good diurnal rhythm during the often lengthy operations, an important feature of this healthy building. LEDs regulate optimal lighting conditions, while the soothing background music, which can be chosen individually, offers a reassuring sense of calm.
The innovative air-treatment system provides highly purified air in the sterile operating theatres. The RHOC is optimally sustainable thanks to the compact volume and the circular materials and details. The entire new building is designed for maximum flexibility to facilitate future modifications to both the architecture and installation engineering. The energy-efficient and low-maintenance installations, including four water pumps that can produce heat and cold at the same time, consume minimum energy and have a maximum lifespan. Moreover, the demand for heating and cooling inside the building is minimized by the smart envelope, which is fitted with sun blinds. Induction elements are also incorporated into the climate ceilings. The amount of ventilation air in a space is responsive and based on the number of people present instead of on the heat demand or cooling load.
Visitors to the care facility can make use of the new car park, with a capacity of 356 vehicles, built beside the RHOC. Traffic entering and leaving creates noise, but the effect is minimized by specific and sustainable design choices. For example, part of the car park façade consists of mesh panels filled with lava stones, which provide optimal sound absorption and acoustics. The colour pattern of the lava stones, which ranges from dark to light, gives the parking area a pleasant appearance. Owing to the moisture-retaining effect, the lava stone supports and optimizes the growth of vegetation placed against the façade, which will thrive in the years ahead. This offers opportunities for greater biodiversity and increases air quality and sound absorption.
The new RHOC building and adjoining car park have been designed by EGM architects. Valstar Simonis was responsible for the design and engineering installations, and Royal HaskoningDHV acted as engineer.
Gemma Smid Architecture Award 2020 - Nomination - Jury award and public award
Photography: Rob van Esch