clean air and light of Ashdod.” The main block of the 70,000 m2

, 300-bed

WAYFINDING With a nature theme used throughout, flowers denote each speciality on wayfinding to simplify it for patients

All images © Itay Sikolski

hospital was designed in an ‘H’ shape, with as much glass as possible in order to maximise on the amount of daylight. The main volumes are linked by an atrium, and “each arm enjoys natural light,” explains Macullo. The north and south facing facades feature extensive glazing so patients and staff have views out over the gardens. “You feel connected to the outside,” he says. “It’s a hospital full of light.” The hospital, which cost approximately £216m to build, is thought to be unique in its inclusion of a seven-storey “day clinic,” connected to the nine-storey main hospital via a glazed bridge and meaning patients can seek more specialist or urgent care if required without travelling to a different location. “The day clinic has the support of the hospi- tal, it’s very clever,” he explains. “If you need intervention or research then you just go up to the bridge and into the hospital.” Designing a hospital layout is of course never a straightforward task, and the team’s determination to keep wayfinding as simple as possible caused some headaches. “It was very difficult finding the most efficient way to locate all the departments,” explains Macullo. In the end, they decided to give priority to the maternity and children’s departments, ensur- ing these were placed closest to the entrance. “The most ‘difficult’ spaces are closest and the furthest from the entrance are the more intimate, less-used spaces.”

One thing Macullo wanted to avoid was

long, institutional corridors. “It was very important to take care of what you experi- ence moving from one point to another,” he says. “It affects your senses enormously.” It was also a key aim to help staff to do their job in the most efficient manner. Parallel walls have been avoided – one is


always at a slight diagonal, changing direction every few metres. “You walk 10 steps then the space becomes larger,” explains Macullo.” There are just two departments on each floor, meaning it’s an easy ‘left or right’ decision for patients. To help patients feel at home, they used a type of stone commonly found in construc- tions in Israel (along with the native plants). “The idea is it’s like a house for everyone,” Macullo explains. Although the patients are mostly from Ashdod and its surrounding areas, the city is home to many emigrants from all over the world, so Macullo felt it was important to display elements of Israel in order to make people feel welcome and “give them a sense of belonging”.

The major external shell of the building is formed of concrete, as the major contributor towards its ‘rocket-proof’ credentials, but the practice used terrazzo tiling on the floor, another popular material in Israel, further reinforcing the ‘home-like’ notion for patients and visitors. To allow for future modifications and upgrades, gypsum board was fixed to a series of pillars internally: “In hospitals there is continuous innovation, so you need to be totally flexible,” says Macullo. This also allowed a certain degree of flexibility during the construction phase. “We were replacing things constantly so things were at their optimum from an operational point of view.” The hospital, which last year won a WA

Award for its design, is the first in a series of buildings that will form a new university campus, and there is already talk of expand- ing it. The possibility of adding an additional 500 beds via an underground extension has been suggested. It’s had an major impact on the community, and thanks to a strong team effort, says its architect, “you really feel that it has been built with love.” 


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