Floating cloud envelops the concentrated work inside the operating room and fires the imagination of patients and care workers
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A ‘floating cloud’ recently appeared inside the atrium of the OLVG in Amsterdam-East. The new home of an ultramodern and future-proof hybrid operating room. It is the first of eight new ORs that EGM architects will complete for OLVG in the coming years. The new OR was built while the daily care for patients and circulation of visitors and staff continued with minimum interruption. That was a complex puzzle in terms of design, technology, sustainability and logistics.
To align with OLVG’s ambition to develop the site into a centre for minimally invasive surgery over the coming years, it was jointly decided to create an OR that is special in various ways. The new hybrid operating room is ‘suspended’ in the open atrium, which serves as a waiting room. Amsterdam artist Berndaut Smilde, who makes artificial clouds in unusual places, provided the inspiration to design the OR as an elegant, almost floating room. “Clouds have something mysterious and appeal to the imagination. By designing an object of mystery, we have given the complex, where many major operations are carried out, a sense of lightness,” explains architect Eric Wendel. Seen from the atrium, the cloud is a striking spatial element that appeals to the imagination of visitors, staff and patients.
By designing a mysterious cloud, we have given the complex, where many major operations are carried out, a sense of lightness
Extra floor space was needed in the hospital for the new OR. Suspending the new addition inside the atrium was therefore a golden design solution. However, it meant that minimizing weight became a crucial factor in design decisions. That explains the use of innovative materials that are very lightweight yet stable in shape. The use of sustainable PET felt, made from recycled pet bottles, was the ideal choice for the exterior finish. Felt possesses the required fire-retardant and excellent acoustic properties. Moreover, the material satisfies the hospital’s stringent requirements in terms of cleaning, hygiene and infection prevention. The operating room is fitted with the latest innovations, among them the newest C-arm from Philips, a thermally shaped wall finish and adiabatic moistening – an energy-efficient system based on water evaporation.
Patients experience a friendly space with a natural feel. That starts in the OR corridor with sliding doors that have a wood effect and warm tones. Atmospheric photographs of greenery in the Oosterpark across the road fill the walls of the OR and adjoining service space. In this way, the interior helps to create a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. From inside the hybrid OR, care specialists can look through two integrated windows and enjoy the bustle down in the atrium. That creates a visual connection with the outside world, because the OR is not a closed box. Daylight admission contributes to a healthy daily rhythm for staff. Viewed from the atrium, the new OR creates greater openness by ensuring indirect interaction between visitors and care workers.
The hospital continued to operate as normal day and night during construction work. In close cooperation with OLVG and partners involved, the architects designed the space in such a way that it could be built in phases with minimal disruption. This hybrid OR is the first of eight that EGM architects will complete for OLVG. Over the coming months the second identical hybrid OR in the adjoining atrium will be completed. Work with then start on the adjacent operating rooms, where six new ORs will eventually be completed.
The new operating room was realized together with OLVG, Royal HaskoningDHV, ULC, Roubos OK expertise, MedicomZes, CCG and Deerns.
Photography: RGB producties